Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Education stats

I expect we'll hear a good deal about our nation's renewed commitment to education tonight during the President's State of the Union speech. I've seen bunch of interesting education stats lately that I thought I'd pull together in one post.

1. The top 5 states in education in the US: Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Minnesota. Those darn northeast elites......

2. The bottom 5 states in education in the US: Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, West Virginia, and Mississippi.

Perhaps the most disturbing stat in the entire article though was that Massachusetts (our nation's leader in education) only had 5% of their students that read at an advanced level in the 8th grade.

This entire article from the former CEO of Lockheed Martin is worth a read but I'll put out some choice quotes.

"In China, eight of the top nine political posts are held by engineers." I think that collective roar you just heard was from all the NYAB readers cheering in unison :)

"Already, 70% of engineers with PhD’s who graduate from U.S. universities are foreign-born. Increasingly, these talented individuals are not staying in the U.S – instead, they’re returning home."

"Many of those teaching math and science have never taken a university-level course in those subjects.

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher; in fact, I took early retirement from my job in the aerospace industry to pursue a career in education. But I was deemed unqualified to teach 8th-grade math in any school in my state. Ironically, I was welcomed to the faculty at Princeton University."

I can echo this experience myself. I feel that the strong math background I gained in a small rural school in NNY helped me to achieve a level of success in my career that I could have never dreamed possible. I thought it would be nice to pay it forward by helping others understand the beauty of mathematics. Despite the fact that I have degrees in finance and management science, a graduate level financial charter and have worked with advanced mathematics for most of my career, when I began to look into the prospect of teaching I was told that the state would deem me as unqualified. Maybe Princeton would take me :)

"U.S. consumers spend significantly more on potato chips than the U.S. government devotes to energy R&D.

In 2009, for the first time, over half of U.S. patents were awarded to non-U.S. companies."

"The World Economic Forum ranks the U.S. #48 in quality of math and science education."

This is just one final stat that jumped out at me when watching a documentary on the success of the S. Korean students on international tests.

"The average South Korean family spends 10% of their after-tax income on "after school" tutoring."

Imagine if we spent half of the money we spend on skating lessons, dance, piano, swimming, karate, football camps, etc, on after school tutoring? Maybe we could close the innovation gap that is growing between us and the rest of the world.


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