The U.S. is losing the college race with other countries, writes Joni E. Finney of the National Center for Public Policy on Higher Education in Forbes.
Other nations are rapidly expanding their higher education systems, chipping away at our comparative advantage in the global economy.
Not a problem, responds George Leef on Phi Beta Cons.
Our comparative advantage in production and innovation is not in having dipped deep into the pool of possible college students earlier than other nations. Our comparative advantage lies in the fact that the United States has heretofore been the least controlled, regulated, and taxed of all the major nations. It’s no more important for us to be the “leader” in producing college degrees than it is to be the leader in producing steel, growing alfalfa, or making wine.
We’re not prosperous because we’ve invested in higher education, Leef writes.
The truth is closer to the reverse of that. Only a very affluent country could afford to have a higher-education system that costs so much and produces so little.
Actually, I think a number of poor countries have very inefficient university systems. Students stay in college for many years because there are no jobs for them if they finish a degree.
Update: Achieve’s new report, Benchmarking for Success, tells states how to compare their students’ performance with “world-class” achievement overseas.