U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan today issued the following statement on the release of Education at a Glance by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development:
“Education at a Glance affirms that the United States is headed in the right direction to meet President Obama’s goal of regaining the lead in college completion by the end of the decade. The United States moved from 12th in the world in 2007 in the percentage of young adults with a college degree to tied for ninth in the world in 2008. But we have a lot more work to do to get there.
“Meeting the President’s goal is essential to maintaining our global competitiveness and ensuring our long-term prosperity. Education at a Glance documents that college-educated workers in OECD nations are more likely to be employed and earn significantly more than those whose education ends at high school. It also shows that America must significantly reduce dropout rates and increase college attainment to meet the President’s goal. Almost 40 percent of American postsecondary students fail to graduate--while many of our economic competitors have dropout rates of less than 25 percent.
“Too many American students are not ready for college-level course work and are struggling to pay for college. Under the Obama administration’s school reform agenda, we are supporting states as they raise their academic standards so students truly are prepared for success in college and careers. With the President’s leadership, the funding for Pell Grants has almost doubled since he took office. The President also is committed to reducing the burden of college debt for those who enter public service. These investments are absolutely essential to supporting our students as they work toward meeting the President’s goal.”