Over on the home page, POLITICO's Jennifer Epstein does the math and finds that President Obama's oft-stated college education targets don't add up:
Early in his presidency, Barack Obama promised the United States would lead the world in college graduates by 2020 — a signature promise he’s reminded people of many times since.
But his own administration’s numbers show he won’t come close. The goal is a key part of the president’s long-term economic plan: Only by having an educated workforce, he argues, can the country hope to stay competitive...
But [I]f gains were to continue at the same rate they have on average for the past five years, it would take until 2036 for the country to reach Obama’s goal for 60 percent of Americans ages 25-34 to have college degrees, based on a POLITICO analysis using methodology suggested by the Education Department. In 2011, only 43.1 percent of this group had college degrees.
...Justin Hamilton, the Education Department’s press secretary, said the administration sees the goal as “attainable” and pointed to its efforts to expand Pell Grants and federal loan programs, as well as its proposals to incentivize colleges for innovating and containing costs, as steps in the right direction. But, he said, “we’re not going to get there with the status quo.”
The Obama administration doesn’t have a clear plan to reach its goal — let alone a wide-reaching initiative that’s being implemented — and the clock is quickly ticking toward 2020.
“It’s a moon shot,” said Terry Hartle, senior vice president of government and public affairs at the American Council on Education who worked as an education adviser to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). But there’s no comparable infrastructure in American higher education to the work NASA did to put man on the moon by the end of the 1960s.