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President and CEO of International Education Corporation Comments on the Fall of American Education

IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 29, 2012 — In a recent article about the Fall of American Education, Fardad Fateri, President and CEO of International Education Corporation (IEC), criticized the presidential elections process for predominant focus on who, rather than what, could put the economy back on track. Fateri asserts that there has been little discourse about education as the most powerful catalyst to economic prosperity. Many of the comments in the article were self-reported to be controversial and transformative, but Fateri claims that "it is prudent to be evaluative, evidence based, honest and at times politically incorrect."

Here are excerpts and a paraphrasing of the major points in his article:

In reviewing and assessing historical information on the health of modern economies, it would be fair to conclude that the education of the workforce is and has always been the most accurate predictor of economic and societal growth, maturity and success. The United States still has the largest economy in the world, but the United States is losing ground to many other countries that prioritize education and developing their youth. Politicians tell the public that education is a top priority, but when the government spends three to four times more per capita incarcerating prisoners than on educating students, the assertion appears relatively insignificant.

The dismal state of American education has for the most part caused our economic troubles and not much else. Although Americans have an enviable work ethic, they are under educated, under trained and over paid compared to their peers in many other countries. Many countries that have demonstrated their economic prowess in the past twenty years, like China, India, South Korea, and Germany, also have the best educational systems and the most educated workers. What makes the people in these countries significantly more educated than Americans? 1. Length of time spent in school; 2. Teacher compensation; and 3. Accountability for student performance.

Over 25% of high school students drop out every year in the United States. Approximately 30% of community college students complete their programs, and an even smaller percentage transfer to four-year universities, where the average national graduation rate is under 40%. What must those in power do to take back the number one position in education and sustain the country's premier position as the number one economy in the world?

A comprehensive transformation of the country's education system is necessary, from kindergarten through college. The following are necessary changes that must be made: 1. Extend the time students spend in the classroom to match those of other countries with effective educational systems; 220 8-hour days a year; 2. Improve Teacher compensation to match those of accountants and attorneys; 3. Eliminate all unions in the education vertical; 4. Eliminate shared governance in education; 5. Consolidate high schools and community colleges to eliminate redundancy; 6. Allow all education entities, non-profit and for-profit, from kindergarten through college to operate and compete within the same regulatory boundaries; 7. Focus on educating the underserved, underrepresented and underfinanced people in the country; and 8. Promote imaginative solutions that deliver the best possible education and facilitate student learning.

The United States faces one of the greatest obstacles that it has ever faced with an education system in steady decline. The only way to overcome this enormous dilemma is to accept the brutal facts — the most important one being that other countries are educating their people more effectively than the United States — and then take transformative and revolutionary steps with courage and tenacity to re-establish the country as the global leader in education. The country's economy will subsequently recover and maintain its position at the top!

To read the full article, click on: The Fall of American Education

About the Author:

Dr. Fardad Fateri is the President and Chief Executive Officer of International Education Corporation, one of the largest private education companies in the United States. Dr. Fateri has had a diverse professional background within the higher education sector, from being a professor to leading large organizations, from working with a small non-profit terminal degree granting university to holding top posts in large privately funded and market funded education companies. Prior to joining IEC in January 2008, Dr. Fateri was the Chief Academic Officer for Corinthian Colleges, Inc and prior to that, a senior executive at DeVry, Inc. He completed his bachelor's, master's, Ph.D. and post-doctoral education at University of California, US International University, and Harvard University.

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