Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Education über alles?

Folks have been sending me links to this column in Pop City on a contest across regions to increase college degrees being obtained

The thing is, is it even possible for Pittsburgh (city, region, or pick your definition) to really increase educational attainment in percentage terms more than how much other cities and regions could improve in the future?

Remember that once you adjust for age, we really are off the charts in terms of educational attainment here as it is. I'll keep this short since we have been through this so many times before. This all becomes a very specific issue for this contest though.  So for us to successfully increase in percentage terms (that seems to be the contest criteria) the number of college graduates would seem to me to be  an uphill battle because we are starting out so far ahead of the average. It would essentially require making everyone get a college degree.. or at least get awfully close.  There are regions that are far far below us in terms of educational attainment at the bachelors degree or graduate degree level and thus probably have a lot farther to improve in the near term.  It was not always the case which is the big point here.  If you ever see a factoid that makes it appear Pittsburgh has an average level of educational attainment, it is most likely conflating the patterns of educational attainment for younger and older generations.  For Pittsburgh like almost no other place in the nation the shift in the educational needs of the labor force decades ago vs. now has created a unique shift.  Put simply, if you look at folks graduating in the most recent decades, we are pretty much among the most educated places in the nation.

Still the most remarkable chart that in itself describes the transformation of Pittsburgh in so many ways is this.  Same as posted before and an update on previous work:


Anonymous BrianTH said...

The contest is for "the greatest increase in the number of post secondary degrees granted per one thousand population", and is using "IPEDS degrees conferred data" normed to ACS population data for its measure.

I don't know that much about IPEDS, but isn't that just a survey of institutions of higher education that participate in federal student aid programs?

So correct me if I am wrong, but if, say, our local higher ed institutions were already increasing enrollment and degrees conferred, but meanwhile our metro population was relatively flat as per ACS, we should be starting in a good position in this contest.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 12:16:00 PM  
Anonymous n'at said...

I believe this graphic portends to an education bubble. post-secondary education is nice if you can apply it and earn a living. we need skilled labor *yesterday*, as technology transfer and institutional knowledge is leaving us - in this region especially - at an increasing rate.

It's nice that CCAC has trained more nurses than any other institution in the country, but sometimes people die too. Unless we fire up the cloud factories and return to manufacturing sick people, I would hope that pittsburgh learns from our past: diversify and annex contiguous municipalities. So perverse, as it'll grow the tax-base from both directions - might bring Haxor Economist out of retirement, too!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 9:47:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

We could import the elderly. My idea to create a network of golf cart paths across the east end that would let them get around like they were at an Arizona elder-complex. We can't do anything about the cold, but golf carts do some with heaters and we have the great advantage of not being Florida.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 10:29:00 PM  

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