For 55- to 64-year-olds, the US has the highest percentage of high-school graduates and the third-highest percentage of college graduates; in people aged 25 to 34, the country is 10th and 13th respectively.
No other developed country in the world has dropped so many places. To go from first place to tenth place in high school graduation rate in one generation is serious and alarming. The short term effects are unsettling enough: on average, those without a high school degree have the lowest earnings and highest unemployment rate of any demographic. But the long term effects could be even scarier: a society that does a poor job educating its citizens is going to pay the price for decades to come. As a less educated workforce slowly replaces a more educated one, skilled labor decreases and the entire economy suffers:
At its current pace, the US will need to add a little more than 200,000 jobs a month in order to close the “jobs gap” by 2020, according to the Hamilton Project. But as baby boomers (those born in the generation after World War II) continue to leave the workforce, companies are having trouble finding skilled workers to replace them.
Once again, the Boomers have found a way to leave the world worse than they found it. Not only have they saddled their children and grandchildren with massive debt and structurally unsound entitlement programs; they’ve also failed to provide them with the kind of education and career prospects that could provide the capital to solve these problems.