By Cynthia J. Pasky
George W. Bush once said, “Think about every problem, every challenge we face. The solution to each starts with education.” That is certainly true in Detroit… Michigan… and the United States.
Education helps us turn away bitterness, misconceptions and anger at our differences.
Education helps us understand the world around us and gives us perspective.
Education develops a generation of responsible individuals who understand proper conduct.
Education drives economic development.
Education turns into jobs and the more education, the higher the salary.
Not to mention, continual lifetime learning does all of the above.
So when I read the Education and Talent Michigan Scorecard the Center for Michigan just put out that compared Michigan to the other 49 states it gave me great pause. Here’s why.
We are 42nd in the nation in 4th grade math and 37th in 8th grade math. We are 36th in 4th grade reading and 29th in 8th grade reading. We are 28th in 4th grade science and 18th in 8th grade science.
We are 25th in expenditures per pupil and 37th in college completion. We are 45th in college affordability and 39th in higher education investment.
As a result we are 35th in per capita income, our unemployment rate is ranked poor at 8.7 percent, and we are ranked 14th in violent crime.
In Detroit, the high school graduation rate is 64.7 percent and the dropout rate is nearly 29 percent, according to studies by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and Excellent Schools Detroit.
We aren’t faring much better on the national front, where the U.S. education system has lost competitive ground internationally. Our nation has slipped 10 spots in both high school and college graduation rates over the past three decades, according to a new report and scorecard from the Council on Foreign Relations’ Renewing America initiative, which examines the domestic foundations of U.S. power.
So what does that mean to all of us? To the business community it means we are slowly losing our ability to innovate and be competitive globally. To the nation it means our national security and economic development are further threatened if we can’t compete with other nations and set a positive example.
“It is an economist’s rule that an increase of one year in a country’s average schooling level corresponds to an increase of 3 to 4 percent in long-term economic growth,” the study says.
Innovation is what drives a societal change and what will change the world. If the U.S. is not at the forefront we will be left behind, and so will its businesses. Business, government and the educational community must come together to
develop a new, robust learning model that truly reinvents education throughout our nation.
As John F. Kennedy said, “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.”
We simply must instill a passion for education and continual learning that taps that human mind in our city, our state and our nation if we expect to compete.
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