Weak schools may be se­cu­rity threat

Re­port: Sys­tem over­haul needed

The Washington Times Daily - - Nation - BY DANIEL JACK­SON

The state of the na­tion’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem is be­com­ing a na­tional se­cu­rity is­sue and could leave the U.S. un­pre­pared to respond to mil­i­tary threats and com­pete in a global econ­omy, ac­cord­ing to a new task force re­port from the Coun­cil on For­eign Re­la­tions.

“Though ed­u­ca­tional at­tain­ment has not changed sig­nif icantly, de­mands on the work­box have in­creased, mak­ing suc­cess less at­tain­able for many Amer­i­cans,” the task force, co-chaired by for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Con­doleezza Rice and Joel Klein, a for­mer New York City school chan­cel­lor, con­cluded in their re­port re­leased Tues­day.

Mr. Klein, in a brief­ing with re­porters, noted that three­fourths of stu­dents are in­el­i­gi­ble to serve in the mil­i­tary be­cause they ei­ther have a crim­i­nal record or they do not have the ed­u­ca­tion re­quired for mil­i­tary tasks, such as cy­ber­se­cu­rity jobs.

Mr. Klein and Ms. Rice said there are jobs the world needs that Amer­ica can­not fill. Although the U.S. high-tech sec­tor con­tin­ues to lead the world in in­no­va­tion, the ris­ing gen­er­a­tion needs more ed­u­ca­tion in lan­guage, an­thro­pol­ogy, civics, sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy in or­der to keep up with the global mar­ket, they said.

Those who are semied­u­cated are “pun­ished” in a global mar­ket, said Ms. Rice, now a pro­fes­sor at Stan­ford.

“Across the board, it is hu­man po­ten­tial that makes a na­tion great to­day,” she said. “It’s not what you can dig out of the ground, as it was with the 19th cen­tury. It’s not what you can man­u­fac­ture along an assem­bly line as it was in the 20th cen­tury. It is hu­man cap­i­tal, and the key to hu­man cap­i­tal is ed­u­ca­tion.”

The re­port cited a 2009 global sur­vey which placed the U.S. stu­dents 14th in the world for read­ing, 17th in sci­ence and 25th for math, well be­hind such coun­tries as South Korea, Fin­land and Ja­pan.

Part of the prob­lem, Mr. Klein said, is most peo­ple do not fo­cus on the larger is­sues of ed­u­ca­tion, with par­ents con­cerned with their chil­dren’s spe­cific ex­pe­ri­ences and not with the prob­lems of the na­tional sys­tem.

The whole struc­ture of Amer­i­can ed­u­ca­tion must be over­hauled, he said, be­cause the cur­rent model was de­vel­oped when chil­dren would di­vide their time be­tween school and work on the fam­ily farm. The re­sult: short school days that filled a shorter school year that worked around the grow­ing sea­son.

“We have got to think dif­fer­ently — not tinker around the edges — about the whole K-12 model,” Mr. Klein said.

The re­port en­dorsed a “com­mon core” cur­ricu­lum, a stateini­ti­ated set of ed­u­ca­tional stan­dards all stu­dents must meet, with higher stan­dards for na­tional-se­cu­rity-re­lated sub­jects such as civics, lan­guage and sci­ence.

The re­port also en­cour­aged “struc­tural changes” that would give stu­dents more choices for where they could be ed­u­cated, cre­at­ing com­pe­ti­tion, as well as a “na­tional se­cu­rity readi­ness au­dit” that would draw at­ten­tion to the links be­tween ed­u­ca­tion and na­tional se­cu­rity.

But not ev­ery­one on the task force en­dorsed all of its rec­om­men­da­tions. Ca­role Artigiani, pres­i­dent of Global Kids Inc., dis­sented in the re­port, say­ing the com­pe­ti­tion that comes with school-choice pro­grams can un­der­mine the pur­suit of the com­mon good.


Sec­re­tary of State Con­doleezza Rice and Joel Klein, a for­mer New York City school chan­cel­lor, in a re­port re­leased Tues­day con­cluded the na­tion’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem is be­com­ing a na­tional se­cu­rity is­sue.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.