United States failing to teach citizens needed skills for 21st century, group says
Unless U.S. takes action to improve its faltering educational system, nation will fall behind
According to a recent study, many Americans lag far behind other developed nations such as South Korea when it comes to mathematical skills. In spite of the United States' high academic standing, with many institutions of higher learning, many in the U.S. population are falling in several skill levels. Why is that?
Unless the U.S. improves its faltering educational system, US adults will fall further behind those of other countries.
"Some degree of catch-up by previously less-developed countries is natural, but the speed at which the skills of comparable developed countries are now outpacing the U.S. must be a matter of deep concern," the report reads.
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Even worse, unless the U.S. improves its faltering educational system, "US adults will fall further behind those of other countries.
"By international standards, despite a relatively high level of educational qualifications, the basic skills of adults in the United States are relatively weak."
The report, entitled "Time for the U.S. to Reskill? What the Survey of Adult Skills Says," the average American's poor showing is not due to a lack of time they spend in the classroom. The U.S. population still has one of the highest levels of formal education in the world, "about 36 million U.S. adults have low skills.
"The weaknesses in basic skills occur despite a relatively high level of education. Among comparison countries the U.S. had one of the smallest proportions of adults with less than high school education, and one of the largest with more than high school."
The report also points out that "there has been little sign of improvement in recent decades."
released earlier this month, the report was a response to a request by the U.S. Department of Education to "take a closer look at the background of the U.S. low-skilled population." Adult Americans scored below their counterparts in most other member countries on tests of basic academic skills, including math, reading and problem solving in a technology-rich environment.
The results have proved to be especially shameful. One in three Americans aged 16 to 65 scored lower in math than their international peers in 18 countries, including the Republic of Korea and the Slovak Republic. One in six Americans also tested below the international average in reading, placing below their counterparts in 12 countries.
Just one in 12 Americans scored at the highest level of mathematical achievement, while one in nine reached the highest level of literacy.
"Explanations for the relatively weak performance of the United States include failings in initial schooling, lack of improvement in educational attainment over time, and poor skills in some sub populations including migrants," the report concluded.
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