In a new report by McKinsey and Company, America's educational achievement continues to drop. This is not news in and of itself but the rock solid conclusion should eliminate any doubts of the consequences. This will affect our ability to compete in the global economy. In an op-ed this morning, Thomas Friedman cites the report and basically calls for us to wake up once and for all. Quoting financial guru Warren Buffet who said. "only when the tide goes out do you know who is wearing a bathing suit," Friedman says that the tide is out on our economy and education and we are left standing...bare on this issue.
What difference would it if we were making the progress we need to make? Read on from Friedman's column in today's New York Times:
Using an economic model created for this study, McKinsey showed how much those gaps are costing us. Suppose, it noted, “that in the 15 years after the 1983 report ‘A Nation at Risk’ sounded the alarm about the ‘rising tide of mediocrity’ in American education,” the U.S. had lifted lagging student achievement to higher benchmarks of performance? What would have happened?
The answer, says McKinsey: If America had closed the international achievement gap between 1983 and 1998 and hadraised its performance to the level of such nations as Finland and South Korea, United States G.D.P. in 2008 would have been between $1.3 trillion and $2.3 trillion higher. If we had closed the racial achievement gap and black and Latino student performance had caught up with that of white students by 1998, G.D.P. in 2008 would have been between $310 billion and $525 billion higher. If the gap between low-income students and the rest had been narrowed, G.D.P. in 2008 would have been $400 billion to $670 billion higher.