Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

October 8, 2013

Disturbing

Even our adults don’t match up in learning skills

Studies repeatedly show that America’s school students don’t compare well with students in other countries when it comes to learning skills, but now we find out that our adults aren’t doing well, either.

The Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies said American grownups scored below average when it comes to mathematics, reading and problem-solving using technology — all three of which are vital skills to have in our modern world.

America is not alone, however. Countries like Italy and Spain that are hard-hit by recession and debt aren’t doing well, either.

By contrast, countries like Japan, Canada, Australia and others in northern Europe — where the economies are good — score higher.

A common complaint among American business owners is the challenge of finding qualified employees. Some of them say many of their applicants have trouble filling out resumes or other job forms and have problems communicating in basic English.

Part of the problem is economic. It’s hard these days to succeed in life when your parents didn’t, but there was a time when that wasn’t always the case. Improving technology has eliminated many of the blue-collar jobs that enabled less-educated Americans to live successful lives. That technology has created many new jobs, but we’re having trouble filling them.

Reacting to the study, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said America needs to find ways to help adults upgrade their skills. Otherwise, they will be “stuck in place, unable to support their families and contribute fully to our country.”

That will be more easily said than done.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Preposterous Preposterous

    File this one under the We Thought We’d Heard Everything category: A man who attempted the armed robbery of a pizza shop is now suing the pizzeria and the employees who tackled him and wrestled his gun away during the holdup.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Legion honor guard available to honor veterans at their funerals

    We in the honor guard of Fort Cumberland Post 13, American Legion, performed 196 veterans service in 2013.

    July 22, 2014

  • No secrets No secrets

    The idea of fracturing for natural gas makes many people anxious about potential harmful effects. For that reason alone, it is incumbent on Maryland government to require full disclosure of chemicals used in the process.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Remember, we’re not immune to extinction

    I’d like to pose a theoretical scenario to Cal Thomas.

    If a medical specialist said, “Cal, you’ve got a serious physical problem. Do nothing and you’ll die soon. Follow my prescription, which involves certain life-style changes, and there’s a good probability you’ll live, even if your life may be a bit more constrained than now.”

    July 21, 2014

  • America has three branches of government for good reasons

    “Mikulski Calls for Continued Action to Protect Women's Health Following Dangerous Supreme Court Decision” is the heading you will find on Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s website.

    July 21, 2014

  • Tell legislators to do what is right for America’s vets

    Without our veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice, where would America be today? It is anyone’s guess, however certainly not the Freedom and Liberty we enjoy.

    July 18, 2014

  • Opposition and inclusion understood

    Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.

    July 17, 2014

  • Move over Move over

    Have you noticed, in your travels, that the front end of a police cruiser usually protrudes a bit more than you would expect when the officer has it parked behind another vehicle on the side of the road?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Use local workers in building new Baltimore Pike travel stop

    As a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly representing Allegany County, and specifically the City of Cumberland, I welcome you to our community as you prepare to construct a Love’s Travel Stop at the above referenced location (on Baltimore Pike).

    July 17, 2014

  • Northern Garrett Rescue Squad raising funds, seeks members

    The Northern Garrett County Rescue Squad recently conducted several fund raising events to raise funds for new Lifepak 15’s, which are EKG monitors with AED / defibrillator.

    July 16, 2014