Foreign Policy magazine reports in its latest issue that many of the talking points about the American educational system that are repeated in the media and by policymakers are misleading if not actually factually incorrect. Among the points Foreign Policy’s Ben Wildavsky makes:
- American schoolchildren have never been at the head of the pack compared to other developed nations – even when the U. S. was at the height of its power after World War II. There is no lead for us to recapture.
- The countries seen as out-performing the U. S. academically either do not have the same diverse demographics (and attendant social and political challenges) as the U. S., or they only test the upper echelons of their student populations, making meaningful comparisons of U. S. with foreign students difficult or even impossible.
- The “deep bench” of American higher education and research institutions not only continues to draw the best international students to the U. S., the American system of higher education will not be overtaken by any other country – if ever – for at least a generation.