However the reality is that in North America public education is generalized unless you are destined to go to university. Graduating from High School gives you a generalized diploma, worth nothing to employers. If you qualify as a potential candidate for a university education you get put into that track. That high school diploma is not generalized, and allows you to enter university post secondary education, if you can afford it.
All other forms of post secondary education; college and trades education, which actually educate/train students for the world of work are not tracked. They are in Europe and Asia which is why they beat out our students. Its not a matter of knowing more math or science but of having access to educated embedded job learning, apprenticeship opportunities beginning in high school and transitioning to post-secondary technical schools.
What’s the problem? The fact that the U.S. is the only industrialized society that relies so heavily on its higher education system to help young people get from the end of compulsory schooling into the workforce with the knowledge and skills to be successful in today’s economy. Despite the fact that nearly all young people now say that they want to go to college and that increasing percentages of high school graduates are in fact enrolling in college, our college completion rate is stuck at about 40 percent. Many organizations are now focused on the challenge of how to increase our college completion rate and have set a very aggressive target of 55 percent by 2025.
But even if this very ambitious improvement goal were to be reached, what is our strategy for getting the other 45 percent of young people the skills and credentials they will need to get launched on a career path that can enable them to earn a family-supporting wage and lead a productive life? This is the big question our report raises, and that you barely acknowledge.
In our search for answers, we draw heavily on two recently published Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) studies that bring important international evidence and experience to bear on the problem we cite, but you never even acknowledge this major section of our report. We point out that throughout Northern Europe from the age of 16 between 40 and 70 percent of young people enroll in programs that combine classroom and workplace learning, have significant employer involvement, and prepare students for careers in a wide range of occupations, not just the traditional trades.