Some good news and not so good news

A study comparing American students with other students from other countries shows that even low performing states like Alabama do better in math and science than other European countries such as Italy and Norway. We can also take some pride in that American students are comparable to peers in Slovakia and Estonia and we are well above Egypt, Chile and Saudia Arabia. That’s the sorta of good news. Unfortunately students from Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan are beating the pants off American students.

The worry is that America will not be able to keep up with our economic competitors because we won’t have skilled employees. I am not sure what the answer is. I witnessed school children in Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan and I know they good to school more days and longer hours. I also know that many children spend their out-of-school time at private tutors and after-school schools. Is this what we want for our kids? Is this the only way to provide kids with the necessary training in math and science?

When I saw this story, I thought of Lian and her homework trials and tribulations with her son. He is an excellent athlete and a great competitor. Perhaps if he knew he was competing against Singapore as he did his math problems and science projects, he’d have more interest.
Maybe we should turn worldwide math and science competitions into a new reality TV show–instead of Iron Chef…Iron Geek. I think that would get Americans going. More people are taking dancing lessons because of Dancing with the Stars and we all think we can sing thanks to American Idol. Let’s get Simon Cowell right on it.

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