The United States is lagging behind other industrialized nations in education and risks losing its competitive edge, new research shows.

In a comparison of 30 industrialized countries, American teens rank near the bottom in math and science, according to economists at a recent forum organized by Strong American Schools, a national education awareness and advocacy group. The group's research also showed the number of 25-34 year olds with bachelor degrees in the United States had declined in recent years, ranking sixth among all industrialized nations. In 1998, the United Stated ranked highest, the group said.

They said American students aren't getting the education they need to compete in the global marketplace.

"It's like we're driving with a broken gas gauge and praying that the tank is full," Roy Romer, chairman of Strong American Schools, said in a statement.

Romer said the education gap between the United States and the rest of the industrialized world is as "real as the trade gap between the United States and China."