The charge made by a report from the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) that the country’s students score poorly despite U.S. schools spending more than schools in other countries surprised no one. What was surprising was their plan to improve education: Leave things alone.
The report, put out by the CFR’s U.S. Education Reform and National Security task force, outlines clearly the deficits, deficiencies, and shortfalls of what passes for education in this country:
Educational failure puts the United States’ future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk. The country will not be able to keep pace—much less lead—globally unless it moves to fix the problems it has allowed to fester for too long.
The task force recited the results of the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) which measured the performance of 15-year-olds in math, science, and reading. Where once the United States was at the top of the 34-nation OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), U.S. students now rank 14th in reading skills, 17th in science, and a dismal 25th in math. It detailed the failure of education in the United States:
- 25 percent of students fail to graduate from high school
- It’s 40 percent for blacks and Hispanics
- In civics only a quarter are proficient
- Only 22 percent of high school students are “college ready” upon graduation
The report said this bodes poorly for the country in five areas: economic growth, physical safety, intellectual property, global awareness, and unity. It added, “Too many young people are not employable in an increasingly high-skilled and global economy, and too many are not qualified to