Experts see leaks in educational pipeline

Talisha Williams

Contributing Writer

Unlike in other countries, today’s generation of young Americans may be less educated than their parents – and that is detrimental to society and the economy, Peter A. Blake, vice chancellor of the Virginia Community College System said.

“We face a situation where the baby boomer generation, which was the most well-educated generation in American history, is about to be replaced in the near future with a generation that is less well-educated,” Blake said during a panel discussion on “Higher Education in the 21st Century” at VCU last week.

He said the U.S. is falling behind other countries such as South Korea, Canada and Singapore: Their older generations will be replaced by a better-educated generation.

“In order to maintain the economy, to maintain the society at a level that citizens are accustomed to, they need to get more people into the game,” Blake said.

Of every 100 ninth-graders today, only about 30 will end up with a college degree, Blake said. He calls this the educational pipeline. The pipe leaks especially in getting 12th-graders into college – and then in getting college students to graduate.

Dr. Richard Morrill, president of the Teagle Foundation, also was a panelist. He said many families have no clue how to get their children into college or how to apply for financial aid.

“Creating a network of opportunity for students is critical in cracking the information barrier for families,” Morrill said.

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