Collaborative Competition?

According to a recently updated report by The National Academies Press entitled “Rising Above the Gathering Storm,” greater amounts of international students who excel in the STEM subjects are going on to attain post-secondary education.  The report also demonstrates that over two-thirds of U.S. Ph.D recipients are not US citizens; and that the US ranks 27th among developed nations in the propor­tion of college students receiving undergraduate degrees in science or engineering.  The report states that “many other nations have been markedly progressing, thereby affecting America’s relative ability to compete effectively for new factories, research laboratories, administrative centers—and jobs.”

In a recent essay in Foreign Affairs, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan argued against this notion that global competitiveness is a zero-sum game.  He explained that, paradoxically, in order to succeed today, we must collaborate more with our international partners.  “In fact, enhancing educational achievement and economic viability — at home and abroad — is more a win-win game, one with enormous benefits for the world and for the United States.”

At a Wilson Center event in March, Andreas Schleicher of the OECD argued that international collaboration, along with  effective domestic reform, could help narrow the achievement gap, raise productivity, and add approximately $17 trillion dollars to the American economy over the coming half century, further showing the potential benefits to be had with a healthy dose of international cooperation.

Posted by: Wesley Milillo

Sources: Foreign Affairs, USA Today

Photo credit: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Prime Minister Tony Blair courtesy of flickr user Center for American Progress.

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