College used to be a path to success. Now it divides us

Matt Zalaznick's picture
Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rare is the international comparison in which the United States trails not only the big industrialized nations—Great Britain, say—and the perennial Nordic list-toppers such as Finland but also lags such middling economies as Italy, Turkey, and Mexico.

But here's one: The likelihood that children will acquire more education than their parents is now lower in the United States than in all of those countries. In fact, the odds of children exceeding their parents' educational level is "lower in the United States than in any other advanced nation," Anthony Carnevale and Jeff Strohl of Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce concluded in "Separate and Unequal," their recent landmark report on American higher education.

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