Finally something positive about education, well sort of. The article titled, “Record Number of Young Americans Earn Bachelor’s Degree” focuses on the history of high school and college graduates in the U.S. both past and present. Sadly, America used to be number 1 in education attainment in the world, until 1992 when foreign and European countries took over. Currently the U.S. is fourth in education attainment behind Japan who is number three, Israel number two, and dun dunna- Canada at number one. According to the Pew Research Center Analysis, for the first time a third of the nation’s 25-29 year olds have earned at least a bachelors degree, this number has greatly improved since the 70’s when only one-fifth of young adults had earned a bachelors and only 78% were high school graduates compared to 90% now. This is an astonishing increase in people graduating in a small amount of time and definitely something to cheer about, Hooray!! The study attributes this return to education and graduation to the recession and slow job recovery leading young people in the direction of education to secure better and higher paying jobs, BUT where are those jobs? Being an almost-educator myself I obviously believe in education for all, at least at the high school level but I fear the number of college graduates with mounting college debt and no guarantee for better or higher paying jobs, or really any job at all. But back to the good stuff- if you are lucky enough to get a job after graduation the wage premium is up 40% since 1983! Another hooray! Let the debt mount and the jobs recess, at least we’ll be educated! And perhaps we can climb back to that top spot soon enough.
I suppose the moral to this story is apply, apply, apply (to jobs and to college) and stand out! As I work at my pre-practicum at Newton North I am pleased to see how hard the students and teachers work in the college prep classes. They are working diligently to make their application letters as appealing and representative of themselves as possible. Students are dedicating a large amount of time to this process and most are applying early. It is encouraging that teachers get to act as mentors, in this sense, as some students may not receive this kind of support or encouragement at home. It an exciting time for these hopeful young people and I look forward to being a part of this very soon.
The article mentions a “education reversal” which took place over the last few years in which there were less young educated people than older ones, for example, “in 2007, the share of adults aged 45 to 64 who had graduated or earned a bachelor’s degree was slightly higher than among 25 -to 29- year olds”. This is a strange idea but one that makes sense. I feel like America took a little break from caring about educationm especially with such a large concentration on a crumbling economy. Kids were being left behind and school systems were being bled dry with no money left in the pot. But we’re back! The curse has been reversed! The “reversal”, that arose in the first decade of 2000s is being reversed yet again. Young people, perhaps due to awesome college prep courses in high school, are graduating from college and young people have taken over once again. This is good news for the future of our country and hopefully for the economy as well.