What is the global imperative? If you read my first book, GLOBALIZATION: America’s Leadership Challenge Ahead, you know the answer. The answer, “change your thinking”.
In my opinion, the key to changing your thinking is education. Education is the foundation from which growth and progress springs forth. If we truly want to change our world, and improve the quality of life for all global citizens, it starts with education.
In my book I devoted an entire chapter to Education Revitalized, so let’s look at how we have fared over the past seven years since the book was published.
The good news is public high school graduation rates in the U.S. are rising. According to a 2017 National Center for Education Statistics report, the number of students who have entered 9th grade and graduated with a regular diploma after 4 years increased from 79% in 2010–2011 to an all-time high of 84.6% in 2016–2017.
The bad news won’t surprise too many people. In 1990, the U.S. ranked sixth in the world for its levels of education and health — 21 spots ahead of where it is now. The latest findings from the Pew Research Center have the U.S. currently in 38th place out of 71 countries when it comes to math scores and 24th place when it comes to science.
So what is happening?
One possible explanation for the decline is that U.S. spending on elementary and high school education has dropped. US News indicated that spending declined by 3% from 2010 to 2014, even as the student population grew by 1%. This compares to a 5% increase in spending by comparable countries.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela
Why are these statistics so important? Because math, science and technical knowledge are what fuel innovation, manufacturing and economic growth. Moreover, in order to survive and thrive in whatever we choose to do in life requires us to continue to advance both our hard and soft skills expertise.
The sad reality is that far too many people think their education is finished when they walk out the door from their high school or college graduation. Wrong. Your diploma is simply a rite of passage. A rite of passage that should lead to the next phase of your growth and development. This next phase and beyond are critical investments in your long-term “thriveability”.
Change your thinking. Improving the quality, affordability and relevance of education will lie in our ability to create, innovate and develop new learning modalities. Thus enabling students and professionals alike to stay motivated to acquire the additional skills, training and competencies needed to compete in a rapidly changing global society.
To make this happen will require the resources of government, education and business working together. But the responsibility for expanding and improving the quality of education does not rest solely on the shoulders of others. Each of us must do our part through reading, self-study, attending seminars, workshops and training classes, and by mentoring others.
Ultimately, the combined intellectual capital of its people is a country’s greatest asset and its competitive advantage. To revitalize education, we all need to recommit to continuous learning and growth, and to making our world better.
Enjoy the journey!
COPYRIGHT © 2019 John Carroll