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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apprenticeships Back to the Future

Diane Auer Jones

Largely overlooked by policymakers, educators, and the public, apprenticeships offer a promising route for preparing large numbers of students for high-skilled jobs and professions. Concern about the rising costs of college education, the growing need for remedial and developmental education among new college students, and the low persistence and graduation rates among at-risk students have […]

This article is in Affordable National Security, Summer 2011

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

Real Numbers: Connecting Jobs to Education

Lisa Hudson

Contrary to popular opinion, attaining at least a bachelor’s degree is not the only, nor in all cases the best, route to success. Nor is it the norm. Most jobs do not require a bachelor’s degree for entry, and most Americans—including most young adults—do not have a bachelor’s degree. What makes a bachelor’s (or higher) […]

This article is in The Path Not Studied, Summer 2008

Reforming Regulation of Research Universities

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

Regulatory and reporting requirements have become excessively burdensome. A more balanced approach is needed. In recent years, research universities and their faculty have seen a steady stream of new federal regulations and reporting requirements imposed on them. These new requirements, in combination with other factors, have exacerbated already significant institutional financial stress and diverted faculty […]

This article is in Affordable National Security, Summer 2011

Education, Equity, and the Big Picture

Natalie Nielsen

The nation needs to take a more comprehensive approach to improving educational outcomes for low-income and minority students and English learners. Education has long been recognized as important to individual well-being and the nation’s economic growth. Yet, despite significant public and private investment, disparities in educational opportunities, behavior, attainment, and achievement exist among different student […]

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

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

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

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

Restoring Science to Science Education

Bruce Alberts

What is taught in schools today is a caricature of science. Young people need to be introduced to science’s full riches. I love biology, and nothing in my four decades as a professional biological scientist has given as much satisfaction as seeing that spark of passion for the subject ignited in a young person. So […]

This article is in What Science Can Do, Summer 2009

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 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

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

Better Skills for Better Jobs

Harry J. Holzer

A competitive grants program could enable the states to implement evidence-based training programs that would prepare workers for well-paid, highly productive jobs. In 2008 and 2009, the U.S. economy shed more than 8 million jobs; since 2009, the economy has created only about 2 million. Most economists expect the labor market to continue to recover slowly from […]

This article is in Economic Stimulus, Winter 2012

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

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

Jack P. Shonkoff

Effective early childhood programs clearly make a difference, but we can do better, and there is a compelling need for innovation. President Barack Obama has called for greater investment in the healthy development of the nation’s youngest children. But policymakers are facing difficult decisions about the allocation of limited funds among a range of competing […]

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

Why the Current Education Reform Strategy Won’t Work

Robert D. Atkinson

To improve innovation and boost the economy, the nation needs a fundamentally new approach to education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. For over half a century, innovations based on science and engineering have powered the U.S. economy, creating good jobs, a high standard of living, and international economic leadership. Yet, as the National Science […]

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

Where the Engineers Are

Vivek Wadhwa, Gary Gereffi, Ben Rissing, Ryan Ong

To guide education policy and maintain its innovation leadership, the United States must acquire an accurate understanding of the quantity and quality of engineering graduates in India and China. Although there is widespread concern in the United States about the growing technological capacity of India and China, the nation actually has little reliable information about […]

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

Perspective: Using University Knowledge to Defend the Country

Stephen M. Maurer

Everyone understands that the United States will need new ideas to meet the threat of terrorism, and indeed, history shows the way. Seventy years ago, the country’s scholars ransacked their respective disciplines for the ideas that won World War II. Academic ideas continued to produce key technologies, including hydrogen bombs and intercontinental ballistic missiles, well […]

This article is in Better U.S. Health Care at Lower Cost, Winter 2010

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 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

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

Applying New Research to Improve Science Education

Carl Wieman

Insights from several fields on how people learn to become experts can help us to dramatically enhance the effectiveness of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is critical to the U.S. future because of its relevance to the economy and the need for a citizenry able to make […]

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

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