May 5th, 2014
11:15 AM ET

Why world is overtaking America

Watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

By Fareed Zakaria

The single biggest force behind falling American rankings on education and skills is not that the United States is doing things much worse, but that other countries have caught up and are doing better. The American system of secondary education and adult training is clearly inadequate in the new global environment.

And things show no signs of improving.

The bipartisan backlash against the common core – a set of national standards agreed to by governors – is a tragic example.Parents raised on a culture of low standards and high self-esteem are outraged that the tests show that many, many American schools are not teaching their children enough.(The tests must be at fault because their kids are brilliant!)

Some left wing groups and teachers’ groups are upset with the emphasis on testing (though Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers, has actually endorsed the Common Core.)

And Republicans now oppose it, despite having championed it only a few years ago, largely because the Obama administration also happens back this project.

Here's another quote from French economist Thomas Piketty's big book: “[T]he principal force for convergence [of wealth]-the diffusion of knowledge-is only partly natural and spontaneous. It also depends in large part on educational policies.”

In other words, if America really wants to reduce inequality, it needs to reform the system, spend money where needed – such as early education – and get to work at it now.

Watch the video for the full Take or read the WaPo column

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Topics: Fareed's Take • GPS Show

soundoff (356 Responses)
  1. Zaen

    Thanks for sharing this! I had no idea this was going on. Very intetesring. I actually just came across your blog by chance, but I wanted to let you know that I'm currently a graduate student at JHU and this semester my Business of Museums professor had me read "Principles of Participation," Chapter 1, The Participatory Museum. Great work! I felt like this chapter provided a great introduction for me being able to see the museum from the eyes of a visitor; verses a museum intern and student.

    July 25, 2014 at 6:21 pm |
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    You can certainly see your skills within the paintings you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. Always go after your heart. "Until you've lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was." by Margaret Mitchell.

    July 5, 2015 at 4:42 pm |
  3. Eddie Fonseca

    Maurice White of the band Earth Wind and Fire always looked to the future in his songs, for seeking better times from educating people on poverty and education in America, and he spoke about change in his songs for the future younger generations in our great land. We need more educated people such as the late Uncle Phil Banks or James Avery who was educated African American and played a Judge on the 90's hit television show Fresh Prince of Be Air, he spoke about how America is slipping in terms of education and how to provide the basic needs for our family's. If you look at the rest of the world you see how other country's who have less wealth, then America have been able to provide the basic things for their citizens from health care to education which is kind of ranked better then ours. Now as a proud American like many others who live in the good old USA, how do we give the best for our sons and daughters in terms of education and a better way of life. It's quite simple if you can crack a cold one and sip on the porch while looking at the evening sun setting you don't need much money to educated your children and here is why. For most of us who work two jobs and want to bread on the table I get that, but the easy way of making sure your son or daughter is better educated is by taking them on summer road trips exploring other cultures and by reading books to them on other countries it's really that quite simple do you not agree America. Well America we are a at cross road with our education system and caught in the middle is our children which is really a freaking shame, but is what it is we should as Americans come together in one voice and say to our government leaders, we need a better way of life for our children form the best teachers to everything they need to succeed in our global society for years to come.

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