The Uneducated American

PAUL KRUGMAN writes in the NY Times:

If you had to explain America’s economic success with one word, that word would be “education.” In the 19th century, America led the way in universal basic education. Then, as other nations followed suit, the “high school revolution” of the early 20th century took us to a whole new level. And in the years after World War II, America established a commanding position in higher education.

But that was then. The rise of American education was, overwhelmingly, the rise of public education — and for the past 30 years our political scene has been dominated by the view that any and all government spending is a waste of taxpayer dollars. Education, as one of the largest components of public spending, has inevitably suffered.

Until now, the results of educational neglect have been gradual — a slow-motion erosion of America’s relative position. But things are about to get much worse, as the economic crisis — its effects exacerbated by the penny-wise, pound-foolish behavior that passes for “fiscal responsibility” in Washington — deals a severe blow to education across the board.

About that erosion: there has been a flurry of reporting recently about threats to the dominance of America’s elite universities. What hasn’t been reported to the same extent, at least as far as I’ve seen, is our relative decline in more mundane measures. America, which used to take the lead in educating its young, has been gradually falling behind other advanced countries.

Read more of PAUL KRUGMAN’s Op-Ed in the NY Times

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  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/PDDVWRQVUPMKRGHURIEQVNYWHQ Sean

    i think it has been a deliberate campaign to dumb down the working class so they have no choice but to live as a serf. on the right you see constant attacks on education itself, saying anyone with a higher education is an evil liberal socialist, attempts to insert superstition into textbooks, the ruling class doesn't like the idea of class mobility and has taken steps to get rid of it. As things stand now we import engineers for next to nothing, wages are on the decline unless you are a banker.

  • smack

    ….said the self-deluded imperialist.

    Someone take away Mr. Krugman's degrees in economics and give him a Mickey Mouse badge instead, 'cause the only reality he's referring to is full of fairies and unicorns. A common historical fantasy mimed by anyone invested in being a government lackey is all it is. Go ahead, Mr. Krugman, and double or treble spending on education and then get back to us with your results in a decade or two. The only thing it'll do is alleviate your fear of a populist uprising by entertaining the drones in free universities. A shallow sham that has more place as historical fiction than modern fear tactics anyways. I look forward to your next bedtime story. -Smack

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