My column on America’s educational assets—diminishing relative to those of other countries, and maybe in absolute terms as well—yielded some suggestions for further reading. Of the ones I've had a chance to look at so far, I recommend the following.
Roger Pielke Jr (author of “Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics”) directs me to his observations on a new Rand report on competitiveness, which suggests that the situation is far from desperate. I agree, of course: I wasn't describing an imminent crisis, but a slowly developing threat to future American growth. Roger also notes that intelligent discussion of this issue is more difficult than it need be because of lack of reliable data (a point I touch on, in referring to the debate over high-school graduation rates). This is true, he says, of many issues at the intersection of technology and policy.
Gail Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College, also sent me a couple of very interesting documents: “Each and All: Creating a Sustainable American Higher Education System” (a lecture to the American Council on Education; look at the charts on page 7), and “Reach Higher, America” (a report from the National Commission of Adult Literacy).
Incidentally, Ben Wildavsky at the Kauffman Foundation also drew my attention to this education blog (which I hadn't seen before: Ben says it's good, and I shall read it from now on). It links to my column and asks, before going on to make a couple of fair points, whether I'm anti-American. Please! I'm an ardent Americanophile and indeed a would-be American--all the zeal of a convert, as my (American) wife will confirm.