Probably not, but since I missed last week's patriotismpalooza, I figure I have some catching up to do. (And he's British!) Perhaps he just wanted to drive home his point, in this Financial Times column, that the American economy is in trouble if we don't improve our school system. But he overreaches here:
Younger cohorts are no better educated than these soon-to-retire boomers. Broadly speaking, educational quality has topped out--and on at least one measure, it is actually deteriorating. In 2006, Americans aged 55-59 collectively possessed more masters degrees, professional degrees, and doctorates than Americans aged 30-34. This impending loss of educational capital is entirely outside the country's experience.
Well, that's technically true but somewhat selective, as the younger cohort also has a greater percentage of people with just bachelor's degrees. If you consider bachelor's degrees and advanced degrees combined, these two cohorts look about the same. (See figure 1.1 here.) And as someone with just a bachelor's degree, I can't help but wonder whether these "advanced" degrees are really related to "greater human capital." We know that master's degrees in education don't make teachers more effective; maybe advanced degrees in other fields are also weakly related to productivity.
Still, there's plenty of reason to worry. As Mr. Crook points out, our declining high school graduation rates spell trouble--and attacking the problem will require much valor. Or, as Mr. Crook might say, valour. (Did I mention that he's British?)...