Saturday, March 22, 2008

Paul Romer's Dad Dances with The Devil

by Ken Houghton

The last time around, this may have worked. Can doubling-down pay off?
Former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Colorado Governor Roy Romer and former Republican National Committee Chairman and Bush White House political affairs director Ken Mehlman were the guests at Thursday's Monitor breakfast. Mr. Romer is chairman and Mr. Mehlman is a trustee of Strong American Schools. The organization describes itself as a nonpartisan campaign to make education a top national priority by making the subject a centerpiece of the 2008 election.

"This nation has been drifting back in comparison with the rest of the world for the last 20 years in education," Romer said. After serving as governor, Romer was superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District from 2001 to 2006. "Where we used to be No. 1 or No. 2, we are now, if you compare 15-year-olds," 21st among 30 industrial nations in science, he said. "The rest of the world has advanced very rapidly in education, and we have been making some advances but not nearly at the same pace," he argued.

Mehlman gets the history correct: the rise of the high school graduate, the G. I. Bill (which more than met the political goal of keeping the post-war unemployment rate lower), and the subsequent National Defense Education Act pretty much cover the pre-OPEC productivity booms. Romer pere puts it in terms even Congress can understand:
The US would profit economically if our educational system improved, Romer said. "There is an entirely different economic future that we are going to be living in and education is the key to that future," he said. If US students improved to where their test scores matched the midpoint of European student achievement, the US gross domestic product would grow an additional 5 percent over the next 30 years, producing trillions of dollars of added resources for the US, he said.

Is it more important than improving the health care system? I don't know, but it may just help to do that too.

More tomorrow.

Labels: , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?