U.S. Competitiveness: The Education Imperative

Bart Gordon

Because the foundation for future success is a well-educated workforce, the necessary first step in any competitiveness agenda is to improve science and mathematics education. U.S. competitiveness and the country’s standing among our global counterparts have been persistent issues in public policy debates for the past 20 years. Most recently they have come to prominence […]

This article is in Seeing Through Preconceptions: A Deeper Look at China and India, Spring 2007

Global Lessons for Improving U.S. Education

Martin West

International comparisons of student achievement illustrate the gains possible for students in the United States and offer insights on how to achieve them. The middling performance of U.S. students on international achievement tests is by now familiar, so the overall results of the latest Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) study, released in late 2010, […]

This article is in Making Sense of the Adolescent Brain, Spring 2012

The Road to a New Energy System: Mobilizing Science to Revitalize Early Childhood Policy

Jack P. Shonkoff

These core concepts constitute a rich return on decades of public investment in scientific research. This evolving knowledge base has informed the development, implementation, and evaluation of a multitude of intervention models aimed at improving early childhood development during the past 40 years. The theory of change that currently drives most early interventions for children […]

This article is in The Road to a New Energy System, Fall 2009

Where the Engineers Are

Vivek Wadhwa, Gary Gereffi, Ben Rissing, Ryan Ong

Intellectual contribution. To quantify intellectual contribution, we analyzed patents applications by U.S. residents in the World Intellectual Property Organization patent databases. Foreign nationals residing in the United States were named as inventors or co-inventors in 24.2% of the patent applications filed from the United States in 2006, up from 7.3% in 1998. This number does […]

This article is in Seeing Through Preconceptions: A Deeper Look at China and India, Spring 2007

Better Skills for Better Jobs

Harry J. Holzer

Industry and employer partnerships. To begin, states would need to create new or strengthen existing partnerships among postsecondary education institutions (as well as high schools providing high-quality CTE), employers or their associations in key economic sectors, workforce agencies (such as state and local workforce investment boards), and perhaps other nonprofit institutions at the state or […]

This article is in Economic Stimulus, Winter 2012

Restoring Science to Science Education

Bruce Alberts

These four strands of science education were judged in the report to be of equal importance. Yet what is taught in most schools today, from kindergarten through introductory college classes, focuses almost exclusively on only a portion of the first of the four strands: teaching students to know scientific explanations of the natural world. Adopting […]

This article is in What Science Can Do, Summer 2009

Does Education Pay?

Mark Schneider

Yes and no. It depends on what, where, and how long one studies—but the outcomes do not align with conventional wisdom. Higher education is one of the most important investments that people make. Whereas most academics emphasize the nonpecuniary benefits of higher education, most students making this investment are seeking higher wages and good careers. […]

This article is in Does Education Pay?, Fall 2013

Expanding Certificate Programs

Brian Bosworth

For many people, especially working adults and low-income and minority youth, a certificate of occupational competence can be a valuable and manageable path to good jobs. The United States faces a decline in the educational attainment of the labor force that threatens to reduce economic growth and limit national and personal prosperity. Reversing this decline […]

This article is in Perennial Agriculture, Fall 2011

To Teach Science, Tell Stories

Niles Eldredge

We need to incorporate the human dimensions of individual struggle, creativity, and adventure into the way we teach science. Charles Darwin turned 200 in 2009, and his myriad admirers marked the occasion at events throughout the Western world. Some of the speakers examined the man himself, whereas others focused on what has been learned since […]

This article is in What Science Can Do, Summer 2009

The New Normal in Funding University Science

Daniel J. Howard, Frank N. Laird

Government funding for academic research will remain limited, and competition for grants will remain high. Broad adjustments will be needed—and here’s a plan. Science policy analysts have focused recently on the federal budget sequester and the dramatic effects it could have on funding scientific R&D in U.S. universities, certainly a serious problem. But looking only […]

This article is in Does Education Pay?, Fall 2013

Real Numbers: Asian Women in STEM Careers: An Invisible Minority in a Double Bind

Lilian Wu, Wei Jing

In the effort to increase the participation of women and people of color in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers, a common assumption is that Asian men and women are doing fine, that they are well represented in STEM and have no difficulty excelling in STEM careers. This belief is supported by the easy […]

This article is in Perennial Agriculture, Fall 2011

The Path Not Studied: Community Colleges under Stress

Matthew Zeidenberg

Publicly funded two-year colleges are facing daunting challenges in dealing with surging enrollments of disadvantaged and unprepared students. It is now generally recognized that a high-school degree is no longer sufficient to achieve a family-supporting income in today’s society. Society is increasingly divided by income, and income is highly correlated with education, with higher earners […]

This article is in The Path Not Studied, Summer 2008

Schools Alone Cannot Close Achievement Gap

Alexandra S. Beatty

A multifaceted strategy can complement school reform by addressing the many out-of-school factors that affect academic performance. Gaps in student achievement are well documented. Members of some ethnic minority groups and low-income students consistently perform less well on achievement tests than their peers do. For example, a more than 20-point gap between white and Hispanic […]

This article is in Health Care That's Not for Dummies, Spring 2013

Apprenticeships Back to the Future

Diane Auer Jones

There is no doubt that today’s adults need far more education than did adults who completed their compulsory education just two generations ago. But the signs are clear that traditional postsecondary education is not the only way—or in some cases the best way—to prepare all individuals for the careers they are likely to pursue. Given […]

This article is in Affordable National Security, Summer 2011

The Path Not Studied: Schools of Dreams More Education Is Not an Economic Elixir

Peter Cappelli

No compelling evidence exists for the thesis that giving people more formal academic education will result in a restructuring of jobs and increased productivity and growth in the economy at large. The idea that education is the key to economic success is widely and rightly popular—for individuals. A person who makes it through high school, […]

This article is in The Path Not Studied, Summer 2008

Education, Equity, and the Big Picture

Natalie Nielsen

This framework (and the report) begins to embrace the complexity of reducing educational disparities by explicitly including early childhood education and acknowledging the effects of poverty on educational behavior, achievement, and attainment. And although finance, accountability, and governance arguably represent a few individual levers or nodes of the system, the report makes a compelling case […]

This article is in Health Care That's Not for Dummies, Spring 2013

Reforming Regulation of Research Universities

Tobin L. Smith, Josh Trapani, Anthony Decrappeo, David Kennedy

Table 1 is a matrix that associates examples of regulations with the solutions defined above. In most cases, regulatory relief does not mean simply eliminating a regulation. Solutions tend to fall within several categories (for example, harmonization and tiering to risk) rather than only one, and should be pursued carefully to ensure that they make […]

This article is in Affordable National Security, Summer 2011

The Path Not Studied: Building a Wider Skills Net for Workers

Robert I. Lerman

A range of skills beyond conventional schooling are critical to success in the job market, and new educational approaches should reflect these noncognitive skills and occupational qualifications. The skills of workers in the United States are critical to their own economic performance as well as to that of society at large. But today, despite the […]

This article is in The Path Not Studied, Summer 2008

Staying in School: A Proposal for Raising High-School Graduation Rates

Derek Messacar, Philip Oreopoulos

By making school attendance compulsory until age 18 and adding targeted support programs, states can better help students avoid regret. High-school dropouts fare substantially worse than their peers on a wide variety of long-term outcomes. On average, a dropout earns less money, is more likely to be in jail, is less healthy, is less likely […]

This article is in Science in the Gilded Age and the Birth of NAS, Winter 2013

Transforming Education in the Primary Years

Lisa Guernsey, Sara Mead

We must invest in building a high-quality early education system that starts at age three and extends through the third grade. When more than two-thirds of students cannot read at grade level and barely three-quarters are graduating from high school on time, it is time to reevaluate not just how well our schools and teachers […]

This article is in The Need for Geoengineering Research, Fall 2010

The Path Not Studied: The Crisis in Adult Education

Brian Bosworth

Education is a key factor in fueling economic growth, but the educational attainment of our workers is slipping badly. New strategies are needed to help undereducated adults. During the past several decades, a dramatic increase in the educational attainment of the U.S. labor force has helped boost worker productivity and fuel national economic growth. However, […]

This article is in The Path Not Studied, Summer 2008

Changing the Way We Account for College Credit

Amy Laitinen

Our system of certifying credit based on seat time rather than on learning no longer makes sense in an era in which college costs are skyrocketing and nontraditional students have become the majority. For centuries, the United States has been the envy of the world in terms of its higher education system. But now we […]

This article is in Science in the Gilded Age and the Birth of NAS, Winter 2013

Making College Affordable by Improving Aid Policy

Bridget Terry Long

Financial aid programs to expand college access could be improved by simplifying processes and favoring grants over loans and need-based rather than merit-based criteria. Higher education plays an important role in U.S. society. In addition to providing numerous public benefits, such as an increased tax base and greater civic engagement, it helps individuals attain economic […]

This article is in Making College Affordable, Summer 2010

Real Numbers: Connecting Jobs to Education

Lisa Hudson

Obviously, adults can engage in more than one of these learning opportunities over a lifetime, a year, or even during a week or a day; it is not possible to say how many do so. But one hint at the size of this learning enterprise can be gleaned from a national survey of adult education, […]

This article is in The Path Not Studied, Summer 2008

Applying New Research to Improve Science Education

Carl Wieman

Although many of these instructional activities are easier to do one on one, there are a variety of pedagogical techniques and simple technologies that extend the capabilities of the teacher to provide these elements of instruction to many students at once in a classroom, often by productively using student-student interactions. Examples of approaches that have […]

This article is in Applying New Research to Improve Science Education, Fall 2012

Science and the Entrepreneurial University

Richard C. Atkinson, Patricia A. Pelfrey

State and federal policies have encouraged universities to become more active in the development of human capital, entrepreneurship, and industry/university collaboration. Economic analyses have given this trend a theoretical and empirical framework and made a compelling case for the benefits to society. Above all, it would be hard to overestimate the transformative influence of Vannevar […]

This article is in Making College Affordable, Summer 2010

Community College: The Unfinished Revolution

James E. Rosenbaum, Julie Redline, Jennifer L. Stephan

Although public two-year colleges have dramatically improved college access for large numbers of disadvantaged students, serious deficiencies in how they operate are limiting their value. In the current debate about U.S. economic competitiveness and the need to provide better education for everyone, there is a new consensus that nearly all young people should attend college. […]

This article is in Policymaking in the Information Age, Summer 2007

Do High-Stakes Tests Improve Learning?

Michael Hout, Stuart Elliott, Sara Frueh

Test-based incentives, which reward or sanction schools, teachers, and students based on students’ test scores, have dominated U.S. education policy for decades. But a recent study suggests that they should be used with caution and carefully evaluated. The United States has long performed at a middling level on international assessments of students’ math, reading, and […]

This article is in Applying New Research to Improve Science Education, Fall 2012

Real Numbers: The New Global Landscape of Educational Achievement

Andreas Schleicher

Some 10 years ago, we lived in a very different world where education systems tended to be inward-looking, where schools and education systems typically considered themselves to be unique, and where the perceived walls of language, culture, and political structure made it impossible for them to borrow policies and practices developed elsewhere. Comparisons provide one […]

This article is in Innovation Policy around the World, Spring 2010

The University As Innovator: Bumps in the Road

Robert E. Litan, Lesa Mitchell, E. J. Reedy

Many university technology transfer offices have become bottlenecks rather than facilitators of innovation. New approaches are needed. For much of the past century, universities and university-based researchers have played a critical role in driving technological progress. In the process, universities have been a strong catalyst for U.S. economic growth. But a perennial challenge related to […]

This article is in Policymaking in the Information Age, Summer 2007