Nelson Mandela’s words painted on a wall in this school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Both these comments are rhetoric and not policy, so shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but the underlying ideas here are very important to me.
When the President says that higher education is an economic necessity, he’s is absolutely correct. If you look at the industrialized economies that are struggling around the world, they line up very closely with higher education rates. (Look at Portugal, for instance.)
So, like, “the U.S. experienced a fairly large growth in population from 2000 to 2009. During the period, the population increased 8.68% — the 12th highest among OECD countries. Meanwhile, the rate at which the share of the population with a tertiary [post high school] education is growing has slowed to an annual rate of 1.4% — the lowest among the 34 OECD countries. Just 71% of funding for educational institutions in the country comes from public funds, placing the U.S. sixth-lowest in this measure.” [source]
So we already have one of the lowest rates of public investment in education in the industrialized world, and the lowest rate of growth in post-secondary education.
This is a real long-term and structural problem for the US economy, because the only future growth available to industrialized nations is in jobs that require education. If we only offer higher education to people who can afford it, we will lose to the many nations where university education is more highly subsidized, because they’ll have better educated workforces that will earn more and in turn pay more in taxes, which will allow future generations to be better educated still.
Both parties would like to take political credit or assign political blame for the unemployment rate and the pace of growth etc. But the truth is, government doesn’t have a lot of say in that stuff (unless of course they screw things up so royally that there’s a debt default or something). A lot of the government’s role in economic growth is much longer term—it’s stuff like infrastructure and long-term political stability and creating a better-educated workforce.
First Book wants to give away 1 MILLION BOOKS TO KIDS IN NEED OVER THE NEXT 10 DAYS. Here’s the catch: We want the world to know about the issue of illiteracy and how they can help us fight it. In support of our effort, we will give away a book for every “re-blog”, “retweet”, and “share” we get of this message on twitter, tumblr and facebook. Get to sharing.