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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New York Times Editorial, "The United States, Falling Behind": Only a Matter of Education?

In an editorial entitled "The United States, Falling Behind" (, The New York Times bewails declining American literacy, numeracy and problem solving skills relative to other nations. The Times concludes:

"Beginning in the 1970s, other developed nations recognized that the new economy would produce few jobs for workers with mediocre skills.

Those countries, most notably Finland, broadened access to education, improved teacher training and took other steps as well. Other countries take these international comparisons very seriously; some use the O.E.C.D. data to set policy goals and to gauge the pace of educational progress. The United States, by contrast, has yet to take on a sense of urgency about this issue. If that does not happen soon, the country will pay a long-term price."

"Broadened access to education" and "improved teacher training" can make a difference? Spare me.

Where is the discussion in this editorial of the collapse of the American family? Consider, for example :

  • The soaring number of children being born in the US outside of wedlock.
  • 47 million Americans on food stamps.
  • More than a million homeless students (
  • America's exceedingly high number of teenage pregnancies.
  • An epidemic of child abuse in the US.

Given these problems, many American children can't possibly make headway in school.

Import talented engineers and scientists from overseas? This is almost like Rome relying on armies of mercenaries for its survival. Ultimately, it all unwinds.

1 comment:

  1. Well, don't get me started.
    I'll be brief.
    First, I am a Social Democrat. It means I favor a structure which prevents to a degree at least insane accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few, usually the most ruthless.
    Secondly, I am shaped somewhere else and I don't believe in positivity/smiling/strategic planning empty suitness. I do believe in solid education which does give a lot of knowledge. Somehow Aristotle and Tolstoy and Kafka managed to think, in spite of the sad fact that they all were disadvantaged and didn't have access to wonderful ("the best and the brightest" "thinking") American education.
    I can continue of course forever ....