As the standoff between the Abercrombie administration and the Hawaii State Teachers Association continues (imperiling the $75 million Race to the Top grant), more bad news about schools was released this week.
At least this time it wasn't specifically about Hawaii's schools - it was about education in the United States in general.
The Council on Foreign Relations released a report Tuesday that said poor performance by U.S. students may constitute a national security risk. A story in The Wall Street Journal says the council believes our schools fail to prepare students for the workforce and have stopped teaching basic civics courses to prepare them for citizenship.
The report says those failures put the nation's "future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk." It warns "the education crisis is a national security crisis."
It notes a recent study that reported more than half of 17- to 24-year-olds aren't eligible to join the military because they don't have the math, science and English skills to perform well on qualification tests.
The report also notes shortages of qualified workers in life-science and aerospace industries. It further says U.S. intelligence agencies and the State Department are "facing critical language shortfalls in areas of strategic interest."
The council suggests the expansion of core standards from our current concentration on math and literacy to include science, technology and foreign languages.
An accompanying chart comparing select countries shows United States 15-year-olds trail their peers in Canada, Japan, South Korea and Finland in all three disciplines measured - reading, math and science.
The Council on Foreign Relations is a New York-based nonpartisan think tank. Their report is further proof of the need to adopt the type of reforms Race to the Top encourages.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.