According to a story on Good Morning America highlighting an upcoming film documentary on the education system in the United States....it is a resounding NO!
In the story they compared the educational systems of China and India to ours...US schools just aren't competitve enough. Students in China and India will not move forward in to Junior and Senior High School unless they succesfully test or meet the high standards of these advanced schools...thus leaving them without a complete education and forever restricting them to a certain part of their societies and cultures.
This is not only true in China and India...but I learned this first hand when I was stationed in Japan back in the 1980's. Getting into Senior High School in the Japanese society is not a given...you MUST test in with high scores or you are left behind, with no hope of ever going on to college....your life is determined at the young age of 15-16 years old. Many Japanese will enter in to the military...it is here that they will learn a trade...AND...college is still not a future option.
I am unsure if this still remains true in Japan...but I believe that probably things have not changed that much in 20 years....change comes much more slowly there. If anything I am sure the standard has probaly been raised much higher than when I was living in this awesome country. The competition was extremely high even then.
Should we be concerned about our students ability to compete on an international scale?....You bet ya! Our educational standard affords the opportunity for all children to go to high school even if they are bearly making the grade...in fact, they are required by law in most states to attend school until they are 18 years old. Some even fail and fail and fail until they reach the cut-off age...then leave or even choose to drop out OR they choose to just get by knowing that some college will probably take them on. This is not so in Japan, China or India...college students are their stellar students...they have earned there place through intense study, high scoring tests and diligence. They have proven themselves over and over again...the the tests and standards weeds the other students out.
Now, I am not saying we don't have these types of super achieving students here in the US....but I do believe that our educational standards are not as high as many of the emerging international cultures/societies. Our educational systems are not necessarily in the business of weeding out the good students from the bad....they want everyone to be given an education no matter what their ability levels.
One important fact that must be brought out here is that these countries school year is much longer than ours. Japanese students go to school year round with only August off...BUT...this time is not necessarily for going to the beach or hanging out with friends...these kids are required to do research papers or projects in all of their classes during this August break....they are due on the day that they return. I'm not talking about a 'What I did during my summer vacation "essay....I am talking about full fledged research papers with in-depth projects in about six subjects!
I wonder what our kids would do if they had to do this type of thing over summer break...Hmmmm?....Would be interesting to find out...wouldn't it?
In any case....this GMA story was very interesting. Please check it out at the following link...come back and comment.
In my humble opinion...this is not new....we are more than 20-years behind the curve on this one!