The performance of the education industry is vital to the national security and economic prosperity of the United States. The advent of the Information Age has significantly increased both the opportunities and the challenges presented to policymakers and educators. An examination of the education industry leads to five principal conclusions. First, high academic standards and effective assessments are essential to promote achievement and measure progress. Second, efforts to recruit, train, and retain high-quality teachers and administrators require special priority. Third, the United States should continue to implement policies, and increase targeted resources that promote equal access and opportunity for all U.S. citizens. Fourth, teachers cannot be successful alone. Social support with adult involvement and a safe learning environment are key to successful student development. And fifth, innovative ideas such as school choice, home-schooling, charter schools, and e-learning can spur competition, raise industry performance, and promote equity. The overall assessment of the U.S. education industry at present produces mixed results. Primary and post-secondary schools are above average compared with those of international competitors; middle schools are average; and secondary schools are below average. The performance of the transitional sector (non-collegiate adult education) is marginal (but improving) debatable relative to other countriesmarginal, and that of the workplace sector is expanding and satisfactory. Although most U.S. citizens agree that education in the U.S. needs improvement, the degree and method of change remain debatable issues.
Industry Studies 2001