Friday, May 02, 2008

Are We Going to Face Our Education Problems Before It's Too Late?

Today's Brooks column points out a truth that has been obvious, but ignored, for a long time.

It's not globalization that needs to concern us but the lack of investment in intellectual capital.

The well-being of the citizens of any country is attributable mainly to the level of education of its people. Tell me the proportion of college graduates (excluding religious studies) in a country and I'll tell you how high the standard of living is. It's that simple.

After World War II, our Government, fearing a return of the Great Depression, instituted the GI Bill of Rights, which included college scholarships for all returning veterans. Send them to college to reduce the ranks of the unemployed.

The unexpected consequence was a huge increase in the intellectual capital of the nation and the greatest economic boom in the nation's history. The money spent on subsidizing higher education was recaptured by the Government many times over in the form of taxes on the greatly increased incomes of the newly-educated masses.

We seem to have forgotten the lesson. In the face of the rising cost of education, Governments at all levels have reduced their support.

Where will that get us?

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