Why is it more important than ever to invest in our children’s education? Because we need to ensure that our next-generation workforce is capable of competing in a global economy.
Emerging economic powers – like China and India – are currently investing in a multitude of diverse resources to educate their youth, while we engage in arguments about teachers unions, pensions and curriculum agendas. It is crucial to sort through these issues, but it’s just as important to keep our eye on the prize, which is to ensure that our youth will have the skills to be relevant in a highly competitive global market.
One sure-fire way of accomplishing this is to invest in our kids. By providing them with a great education, we will create and strengthen the foundation on which they will build their success. A report released by the Center for American Progress and the Center for the Next Generation, “The Race That Really Matters: Comparing U.S., Chinese and Indian Investments in the Next Generation Workforce”, is a rude wake up call. Here are a couple of alarming statistics:
- Half of U.S. children get no early childhood education, and we have no national strategy to increase enrollment.
- More than a quarter of U.S. children have a chronic health condition, such as obesity or asthma, threatening their capacity to learn.
- More than 22 percent of U.S. children lived in poverty in 2010, up from about 17 percent in 2007.
- More than half of U.S. post-secondary students drop out without receiving a degree.
Think about this: “By 2017, India will graduate 20 million people from high school – or five times as many as in the United States ” and “by 2030, China will have 200 million college graduates — more than the entire U.S. work force”. These people will directly compete with our children.
According to Charles M. Blow, out of “the world’s five billion people over 15 years old, three billion said they worked or wanted to work, but there are only 1.2 billion full-time, formal jobs”. It’s time we make, not break, our children’s futures by investing in their education.
Let us know what you think in the comments below. What can we do to help our kids compete in a global economy?