How are US schools compare to those in other countries?

U.S. Schools: Not That Bad

America’s educational system is easier than those in China and India—but it’s still teaching valuable life lessons

  • Indian students in the same grade as his teenage daughters were two or three years ahead in math, physics, biology, and even subjects like world history and English literature.
  • It can take longer for Indians and Chinese to develop crucial real-world skills that come more easily for some Americans. Yes, U.S. teens work part-time, socialize, and party. But the independence and social skills they develop give them a big advantage when they join the workforce. They learn to experiment, challenge norms, and take risks.
  • There is no doubt that U.S. education can and should be improved. In the global economy, skills are going to provide the competitive edge. But it will take more than math and science. Our children also need to learn geography, literature, language, and culture. Creativity and innovation come from a broad education and independent thinking. We need sociologists and historians as well as mathematicians.
  • we need to create the excitement and demand that makes our children want to become engineers and scientists (BusinessWeek.com, 10/26/07). There is no shortage of these skills in the U.S., but these professions just aren’t cool. In India and China, engineers and scientists are regarded highly; here they are called nerds or worse.
  • Our competitors are working very hard to be innovative and entrepreneurial like us. There are many things we need to fix—not just math and science education. We need to compete on our strengths, not theirs.

The Science Education Myth

Last Updated: June 3, 2008

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