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Defining our nation’s education challenge

ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson gave the keynote address at a dinner following the Bush Institute conference I wrote about in my last post.

Rex used the opportunity to lay out his thoughts on the roles that both government and industry must play to sustain innovation and spark economic growth.

He concluded his talk with a call for improving education outcomes, echoing themes he touched on in his recent Wall Street Journal op-ed evincing support for the Common Core State Standards.

In his talk last night, Rex cited a battery of statistics that make clear the need for improving our educational system to improve outcomes for every child. Two in particular jumped out at me:

  • Fully 30 percent of high school graduates cannot pass the U.S. military entrance exam, which is focused on basic reading and math skills.
  • Today 20 other countries rank ahead of the United States in the number of college students earning science and engineering degrees. Three decades ago the U.S. ranked third.

Neither of those points inspires much confidence if we fail to make dramatic changes to improve American education.

You can read the full text of Rex’s remarks to the Bush Institute here.

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