By Andrew P. Kelly, Mark Schneider

The USA, lengthy thought of to have the easiest larger schooling on this planet, now ranks 11th within the share of 25- to 34-year-olds with a school measure. As different nations have made dramatic profits in measure attainment, the U.S. has stronger extra slowly. In reaction, President Obama lately laid out a countrywide "completion time table" with the target of creating the U.S. the best-educated kingdom on this planet by  Read more...

Introduction / Andrew P. Kelly and Mark Schneider --
pt. 1: The demanding situations. expanding better schooling attainment within the usa : demanding situations and possibilities / Arthur M. Hauptman --
Graduation charges at America's universities : what we all know and what we have to recognize / Matthew M. Chingos --
pt. 2: The functionality and capability of sub-baccalaureate courses. Can neighborhood schools in attaining bold commencement targets? / Thomas Bailey --
Certificate pathways to postsecondary luck and strong jobs / Brian Bosworth --
apprenticeships as a substitute path to talents and credentials / Diane Auer Jones --
pt. three: the connection among coverage and finishing touch. monetary reduction : a blunt tool for expanding measure attainment / Eric Bettinger --
Remediation : the demanding situations of aiding underprepared scholars / Bridget Terry lengthy --
Equalizing credit and lucrative talents : credits portability and bachelor's measure attainment / Josipa Roksa --
pt. four: the teachings from 3 states. The problem of scaling winning coverage strategies : a case examine of 3 Colorado group university process delivers / Elaine DeLott Baker --
Efforts to enhance productiveness : the impression of upper schooling reform in Texas / Geri Hockfield Malandra --
The Ohio event with outcomes-based investment / Richard Petrick --
Conclusion / Andrew P. Kelly and Mark Schneider.

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Lumina Foundation, A Stronger Nation through Higher Education (Indianapolis: Lumina, 2009), p. 1. 17. White House, “Restoring America’s Leadership in Higher Education,” Press Release, Aug. 9, 2010. 18. Systematic collection of data on attainment rates for sub-bachelor’s degrees did not begin until 1990 in both the United States and many OECD countries; therefore, I present historical trends in the attainment rates of sub-bachelor’s degrees and above only since 1990. 19. OECD documents and presentations use the difference in attainment rates by age group as an indicator of growth in attainment rates.

For more detail, see OECD, Education at a Glance, 2010, pp. 58–80. For concerns about this rate, see Clifford Adelman, Spaces between the Numbers (Washington, DC: Institute for Higher Education Policy, 2009). 6. S. figures); or OECD, Education at a Glance, 2010, pp. 72–80 (for international figures). 7. For example, Gov. org/ci/1011. 8. ” 9. See Adelman, Spaces between the Numbers, pp. 14–35, for a discussion of the various factors that affect attainment and graduation rates. 10. org. 11. Clifford Adelman has been particularly forceful in calling attention to the importance of demographics in explaining trends in attainment and completion rate.

But to see the problems in setting ambitious and unrealistic goals, one only need examine the track record of K–12 education in this country in recent decades. The Goals 2000 set out in 1989 included the goals that “all children in America will start school ready to learn” and that American students would be first in the world in math and science by 2000. These goals were not met by 2000, nor are we closer to reaching them now. 36 Is the President’s Goal Realistic? One relevant question here is whether the Obama initiative in higher education is any more realistic than the national goals set in K–12 education over the past several decades.

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