Buried underneath the rubble of abysmally pathetic television news coverage of the Chicago teachers strike was a story our nation's political leaders would like to shove back under the rug but it needs to be shouted out loud from the rooftop of every public school across America. It's the finding of a report by the World Economic Forum and it shines the spotlight right where it belongs.
The reason the U.S. has slipped again in the rankings for economic competitiveness has nothing to do with our teachers, our educational institutions or those who support public education. Rather, the U.S. is in deep trouble because of failed leadership in government and the corporations that control politicians and every aspect of our lives. These same private interests have been trying to get their hands on public schools for decades. Why --not to improve education, teaching or learning but to feed their greedy, self serving agendas while they hide behind a smoke screen that is finally disappearing along with the middle class and a compliant workforce that has nothing left to lose.
The story didn't get much coverage but it came from a business blogger at the Times, Catherine Rampell's Economix and it ties right into how teachers, parents, students and concerned citizens can begin to change the narrative about education being the key to global competition. It's time to look behind the curtain and hold those who are responsible accountable. Save the Republic.
The main reasons the United States has been slipping in the rankings appear related to distrust of and lack of confidence in government leadership. The World Economic Forum
A Look Behind the U.S. Decline in Global CompetitivenessBy CATHERINE RAMPELL
For the fourth consecutive year, Switzerland is the most competitive economy in the world, according to a ranking from the World Economic Forum. And, for the fourth consecutive year, the United States fell in the rankings -- largely because of worsening criticism of the American government -- and is now in seventh place.
The interactive map below shows how each of the 144 countries analyzed ranked. Click on any country to see how it stacks up on different dimensions of competitiveness.
The World Economic Forum defines competitiveness as "the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country" and thereby lead to sustainable growth. The report graded economies based on an index of categories like over-regulation, property rights, tax burdens, transparency and trustworthiness of both the government and the financial sector, infrastructure, inflation conditions, the health and educational attainment of the population, access to technology, and research and development.
The main reasons the United States has been slipping in the rankings appear related to distrust of and lack of confidence in government leadership.
Here's an excerpt from the report; the numbers in parentheses refer to America's ranking on that category in relation to all 144 countries:
The business community continues to be critical toward public and private institutions (41st). In particular, its trust in politicians is not strong (54th), perhaps not surprising in light of recent political disputes that threaten to push the country back into recession through automatic spending cuts. Business leaders also remain concerned about the government's ability to maintain arm's-length relationships with the private sector (59th), and consider that the government spends its resources relatively wastefully (76th). A lack of macroeconomic stability continues to be the country's greatest area of weakness (111th, down from 90th last year). On a more positive note, measures of financial market development continue to indicate a recovery, improving from 31st two years ago to 16th this year in that pillar, thanks to the rapid intervention that forced the deleveraging of the banking system from its toxic assets following the financial crisis.
Note also that the map shows a sharp divide in competitiveness between Southern Europe (Greece, Italy, Spain) and Northern and Central Europe (Finland, Sweden, Germany, etc.). This is a divide that has been growing,
Separately, Gallup on Wednesday released a new metric looking at the share of adults in each country who are working full time for an employer (as opposed to being unemployed, out of the labor force or self-employed). The United States came in 16th place, with 41 percent of its adult population working at least 30 hours a week for an employer. Worldwide, the share is 27 percent.
This metric is closely correlated with economic growth, as well as with a country's competitiveness rating: