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Helping our kids by doing the math

As much as we like to celebrate the little victories, sometimes, you have to take a step back and acknowledge the sobering reality of what it means to be a child in America today – and by any measure, America's kids are falling behind. This week brought more evidence of our kids' plight, with the release of the PISA international academic scores. The findings? We're in trouble: Kids from most developed nations, and from fast-growing developing nations, outscore our kids on basic competencies in math, science, and reading. As Ann O'Leary remarked in her blog post on the topic, "these results depict a picture of educational stagnation." We're hopeful that through efforts like Too Small to Fail, we'll be able to close the gap – but we're not sanguine about what it will take. When you add up the numbers, it's clear that we'll all need to be a part of the solution, or face dire consequences down the road.

Speaking of adding up the numbers, apparently, the gap in math skills is already playing out in California's oil industry, which claims to be on the verge of creating millions of jobs in California – if only they can fully develop the Monterey Shale oil deposits. Not so fast, say Next Generation researchers Rob Collier and James Barba, who this week posted the next in our ongoing series about the Monterey Shale. Collier had California's top economists take a hard look at the oil industry's jobs numbers, and sure enough, they don't stack up: At best, California is looking at a minor uptick in job creation -- and only if the industry is able to figure out how to develop the Monterey Shale in the first place. 

Meanwhile, our clean energy economy continues to grow at a healthy clip. Here's an idea: Let's apply ourselves to the challenge of ensuring our kids have access to quality, early education with the same gusto we're applying to our clean energy transition. Surely, in the long run, the two are mutually beneficial.

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