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 (351 Responses)
  1. Chuck

    Take a Hint from Peirs Morgan and leave

    May 5, 2014 at 8:00 pm | Reply
  2. Eric

    I think it's funny that an article about educating the children..." Our future" has turned into a republican vs democrat conversation. Wake up you silly minions it doesn't matter who is in office the country is run by corporate America. Stop bickering amongst yourselves and stand up for the next generation or we waste more time, money, and emotion not acting on it.

    May 5, 2014 at 8:10 pm | Reply
  3. peekee

    Zakaria is not correct, why? I came to US from Asia with masters degree in 'A' grade. My masters is nothing compare to my son's 4th grade knowledge in US, teachers in US will teach innovation, thought process that's missing in other countries. US education system is great but problem is with many kids who didn't have parental support due to lack of father or mother at right age so no guidance at home. Please bring back old traditional American culture that solves the problem. We need to increase military budget that is nothing to do with education system

    May 5, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Reply
  4. Portlandtony

    This whole concept of every child must go to college is inane. Ask all the college grads pushing pizzas or working at Starbucks. America needs to teach it's youngsters how to do stuff. You can can make six figures knowing how to repair the electronics on a BMW, how about running boring equipment drilling tunnels, or coding computer apps....for tasks like these you need specialized training......Not your typical high school curriculum. Of course there is a need for advanced studies, but all high school grads are not going to excell at astro physics. How about skilled welding classes or oil field rigging or techniques in fracking, courses in robotics, CNC programming and so forth. Industry doesn't have the time to teach the basic to future employees. Reading, writing and arithmetic gets you a job at Wendy's. Let's Prepare some of our high schoolers with skills to get a real job.

    May 5, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Reply
    • lorrie frost

      Agree 100%.

      May 5, 2014 at 8:51 pm | Reply
    • nisroc00

      You are off on 6 figures at least as start pay but other than that you are right. I think taking smaller course for a specific study would be more accurate. When i was in they were teaching me things i did not wish to learn. I went in for computer and coding and they are teaching me English and math on top. well math was sorta of okay sine it is used everyday in computers especially coding. English on the other hand was BS.

      May 5, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Reply
      • MACT

        The quality of your writing suggests you should have taken more English classes.

        May 5, 2014 at 9:13 pm |
      • johnnycanuckerhead

        hey disregard the basher response. good job, cheers

        May 5, 2014 at 10:30 pm |
      • Sherri

        I agree with another poster. The quality of your writing suggests that you did not learn even the basics of English grammar, or spelling. Taking English and math is a good idea regardless of what field you choose. These are basic skills. You apparently did not master them. If you are in computers, then you need math. I suggest you return to school and take English and this time, pay attention to what they are teaching.

        May 6, 2014 at 10:33 am |
    • Paul

      The specialized training that you suggest offering in high school, should still meet the goals of common core. I don't see why there has to necessarily be either a vocational and college-prep track decided by the student (like they do in Germany) unless the student has a learning disability or is an English learner. I don't see why an AP class in high school couldn't be run in conjunction with a "lab" class where theory is taught through real-life scenarios and hands-on experience just like some elements of the common core are trying to get the kids to do. However, it takes a motivated district, school, and parents to make anything more than business as usual happen within a public school system and some extra money. If the parents don't want the hassle of their school demanding more of them and their kids, then they should prepare to live a third world lifestyle because that is what their community will be classified as: an educational ghetto by major global firms when looking to relocate. Is that what all you common core haters want – to have your kids grow up as fodder for a low skilled, soon to be replaced by automation or outsourcing, local work environment?

      May 5, 2014 at 9:07 pm | Reply
      • Portlandtony

        Agreed

        May 5, 2014 at 9:56 pm |
    • Bhadresh

      We want to be better than others . I had visited developing country where most of the staff in restaurant where diploma in Hotel and culinary. Delegation came from other country. This restaurant took help from internet and other sources and made excellent food popular in their country. Practical chef without modern education cannot make dishes within a day. We need high caliber and education.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:10 pm | Reply
    • Carson Rhodes Thaler

      Not so fast there Blue Collar promoter... What you are advocating is why we are falling behind... You are advocating that companies sponsor ROP courses to recruit workers. While you decry college, you suggest teaching kids college level subjects. of which they would only learn one. Guess what happens when life requires them to be skilled in more topics but they aren't because they ROP's a specific trade... We need versatility to adapt and advanced education enables people to get there... It what other countries have over us...

      May 6, 2014 at 2:02 am | Reply
    • John Chadderdon

      For my ultra right wing friends...Amen

      May 6, 2014 at 8:05 am | Reply
    • There, their, and they're

      Having an education is more that just having a specialized skill. Having good language skills is essential to interacting with people; knowing more than just a little bit about government makes a person a better citizen (voter); to understand government and follow election campaigns intelligently requires a good knowledge of our language and our history. In whatever field you wish to work, a generalized as well as a specialized education is required to be and continue to be a successful person. Too many out-of-work people in the work force today didn't acquire the education needed to move ahead or to move on. A well rounded education teaches a person to be successful in life, not just in a specific trade.

      May 6, 2014 at 9:54 am | Reply
      • Sherri

        I LOVE your posting name. I don't think they teach the difference between these words anymore. And the whole your/you're mess drives me insane. People seem to think they are interchangeable. They are not! I don't think everyone needs to go to college. I DO believe everyone should have the choice though. I think there are some jobs that do not require a 4 year degree, but would require further learning, after high school. And, everyone should have a grasp of English usage, grammar, math basics etc.

        May 6, 2014 at 10:36 am |
      • Portlandtony

        A.well rounded education is great but in in today's high tech world you must have the ability to do something and do something well. With a good liberal arts education you can start a good conversation, impress your peers, be a Walmart manager etc...yet never make any money unless you are extremely lucky. We need to train "would be" middle class folks to do skilled in demand disciplines.

        May 6, 2014 at 11:38 am |
      • Portlandtony

        Being successful at life doesn't pay very well. Being good at a specific trade does. We're only talking jobs here not character development.

        May 6, 2014 at 11:50 am |
  5. Stick7

    The country has become so divided and polarized in the last few decades that the politicians and the populace have taken their eye off the ball. China is about to become the world's largest economy very shortly, which would have been unthinkable a few short years ago. Politicians have expended so much energy and taxpayers dollars fighting old battles such as Roe vs Wade, birth control, voter registration, and health care that they have figuratively orphaned the students of America. Overall, teachers are underpaid inasmuch as they are the folks we count on to educate HHS leaders of tomorrow. We are on a downward spiral unless the people of this country can learn to pull together and work toward a common goal.

    May 5, 2014 at 9:01 pm | Reply
    • Carson Rhodes Thaler

      Militant Conservative Capitalism relies on constant divisions to maximize profits...

      May 6, 2014 at 2:04 am | Reply
      • Pogojo

        The current administration has divided is more than any in recent history

        May 6, 2014 at 2:10 am |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        @ Pogojo:
        The current administration has not divided us.
        USA citizens' reactions to the election of an African-American president have divided us.

        May 6, 2014 at 7:33 am |
  6. David

    Our priorities are messed up. We spend more on our military than the next eight highest spending countries combined. But our school systems are bankrupt, or close to it. It's time to reconsider our role as world police and put more emphasis on our domestic problems.

    May 5, 2014 at 9:02 pm | Reply
    • chip

      David" You are right on the money" I totally agree and have been thinking this for years" We are basically almost bankrupt and we continue to be the police of the world" to a lot of country's that don't appreciate it "and are ungrateful" South Korea for example"

      May 5, 2014 at 11:44 pm | Reply
    • JamesS

      The US spends more per pupil than any other country in the world. According to a CBS News report from last year, "The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development — which groups the world's most developed countries — writes in its annual report that brand-new and experienced teachers alike in the United States out-earn most of their counterparts around the globe.

      "The United States spent more than $11,000 per elementary student in 2010 and more than $12,000 per high school student. When researchers factored in the cost for programs after high school education such as college or vocational training, the United States spent $15,171 on each young person in the system — more than any other nation covered in the report."

      Since we're spending more money per pupil than any other country and getting such a small return, we have to look elsewhere than spending for reasons our system lags. I'd put my money on what is being taught, not the people teaching it.

      Education is one of those soft sciences like sociology and economics where not a lot of experimentation goes on, and what there is is subjected to multiple opposing interpretations. An emphasis on results via testing is considered "paradigm blindness" in our educational universities - and if one can't use experimental evidence to determine the efficacy of a system, then you're not really doing science at all. Thus we get all the weird trends in education like New Math and whole language, which are all the rage for a while and then disappear.

      One can argue all day what the problem with US education is, but one thing we can write off up front is a lack of money being spent.

      May 6, 2014 at 7:00 am | Reply
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        @ JamesS:
        I agree that spending more money will not help our educational system.

        May 6, 2014 at 7:40 am |
    • David

      We don't need to spend more money. We need to spend it more wisely. Our priorities are messed up with how we spend the money. We build expensive schools that are like prisons and are not good learning environments. Take a lesson from private schools. They generally know how to provide better education without wasting so much money. The lesson from our overspending on military shows how our attention is diverted from the issues that really make a difference. If this money were to be spent on addressing our social issues, it would have a beneficial effect on all of us, including our children, and we would have better security as a result. Instead we are left with the impression that our country cares more about the rest of the world and their problems than we do about our own people.

      May 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  7. Hank

    No America is falling down on the ranks in so many areas because of pure apathy. Other cultures don't even pretend that education and determination are things to scorn. They don't say do just enough to get by. They "train" the young minds of their society to FOCUS and set goals at a young age. They value structure and the human mind's structure and capabilities to the extent that failure is not an option. They don't put their kids on drugs to "calm" them down. They don't have a para professional for every kid that the schools label as "special ed", they don't put labels on their youngilngs so they are defeated before they even hit middle school. America is slipping in the ranks due to pure arrogance and apathy. The message to many younglings get today is it's okay to just barely get by cause there is a government safety net there to provide for you so don't worry about a thing.

    May 5, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Reply
    • Leo 818

      As a teacher, I have to agree with a lot of what you say. The idea of working hard for success is alien to a majority of students. Their parents don't care what the kid's grades are as long as they are eligible for the next game. The problem with common core is that, as Americans, we hate the idea of government issued lock-step thinking. Our state does not use common core, and many of our standards are more rigorous. Not only that, but they are applicable to the kids who are not university bound.

      May 5, 2014 at 9:24 pm | Reply
      • There, their, and they're

        And with a solid Common Core (or equivalent) education, the student who thought at age 15 college was not an option, can have a change of mind at age 18 and still be prepared for a college or university education.

        May 6, 2014 at 10:04 am |
    • David

      We throw our money away on gigantic, prison-like edifices to the school boards egos. These are not good learning environments. And, yes, the parents deserve a lot of the blame. We must educate them as well as the students and create an environment that rewards good education performance, not sports heroes and their followers. Our children see the leaders of our country pro-occupied with their power trip. Our media is pre-occupied with the negative, the bad, the ugly. We need more positive role models. But most people are so jealous of them that we would rather tear them down than build them up, like the trolls that slash and burn because it is so much easier than coming up with constructive ideas and they hate those who can. Our greatest resource as a country is our people, but we would rather throw our weight around to benefit our businesses. How about spending our time and efforts on our future, our young people. We are smarter than this but our school leaders spend their attention reacting to the latest tantrums of a small number of complainers acting based on their own selfish motives. We need true leaders who can shut out the noise and proceed to place education as our primary goal. And, yes, America has been behind in education for a long time. That is why so many people are willing to pay twice for their children's education – once to pay their public school taxes, and another to place their children in private schools where education is their primary goal.

      May 5, 2014 at 11:19 pm | Reply
  8. Tim Reilly

    Now that Zakaria has it all figured out will he please MOVE back to his country of origin, where I am more than sure is more highly developed and better educated than a developing country like the U.S.

    May 5, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Reply
    • CW

      He's an American citizen. This IS his country.

      May 5, 2014 at 10:37 pm | Reply
    • mg4533

      He is more American than u, Tim. He eats pepperoni pizza almost everyday. How about u. When was the last time u had a slice.

      May 6, 2014 at 7:18 am | Reply
  9. Larry Mayer

    Reading writing and arithmetic isn't sufficient. We lived in a vastly different world where prep for college made sense. Today we have other needs to be fulfilled and are not addressing them. The labor needs are now more technical. A guy who fixed automobiles 30 yrs ago couldn't touch a modern Ford let alone an Audi or BMW. We must adapt our educational system for what our future requires of it.

    May 5, 2014 at 10:39 pm | Reply
  10. Wittgenstein

    The problem with your comment on testing is that you assume the tests are, in fact, valid measuring devices. Common Core per se is a good idea...we need some kind of standard nationally. Unfortunately, much of the testing done in this country is poorly written, often done by such companies as Pearson, who also set up grading (and the necessity of testing) and, sadly, are done to death. My wife is an elementary school teacher, and between her local school district, state and national needs, has to administer well over thirty tests each year. She literally is left with almost no time to actually teach....the tests interrupt the normal teaching flow, set up children for both anxiety and, ultimately, cynicism about the testing, and the results are brutally inaccurate. Some tests are administered that cover material that the actually extant textbook doesn't cover, and some are written for high school level students rather than the elementary kids forced to take them....and on and on. The teachers are competent, the schools by and large competent, but the mania for testing has not, in reality, disclosed anything other than its own problems. One local testing regimen has exactly ONE question per standard. If the student answers correctly, they pass that standard, and if they don't, they fail it. Really. So on a bad day, you can get an utterly skewed result. ELD students are mixed in with special ed, behavioral problem children, borderline IQ children, etc. The class size is 33....in a room built for 24. Next year, due to ongoing lack of funding, the teacher may have to teach 40 students in this context. But, somehow, they must be magicians. No wonder many are becoming bitter and disillusioned.

    May 5, 2014 at 10:46 pm | Reply
  11. Miller

    I still put my money on the USA. Sure we have some issues and continual improvement should be the goal of every country, business and individual, but we get a lot right as well. 2013 dominated Nobel Prizes, again. Another great showing at summer and winter Olympics. Believe U.S.A. was second in patents last year. Hollywood and U.S.A. music groups are both followed around the world. About a quarter of F50s are based here. I know we rank real high in number of universities and PHD graduates. Our GDP is still multiples of closest one in our dust, as is our military spending.
    Not saying that we should not improve our test numbers, but there are a number of factors to those scores. How many kids do we test a year and what percentage of population? And one irony that comes to mind as well is that the debate seems to be about teaching common core to the tests, but it is a testing system that is also used to test students worldwide and the basis for this opinion. Seems you cannot win. LOL.

    May 5, 2014 at 11:41 pm | Reply
  12. Eff China

    Because we let them. We let them in, we teach them, we build factories for them, they copy us,etc. Nothing to do with what we are doing wrong, other than allowing ourselves to be exploited.

    May 6, 2014 at 12:10 am | Reply
  13. d. lewis

    There are so many things wrong with the system one hardly knows where to begin, Just a few are: It's not a merit system, economist have predicted that eventually true merit systems would come along and leave the US in the dust. 95% of fixing the system is to make it a merit system, trying to fix a system that is not a merit system is crazy. Another obvious problem is unequal funding of schools, that means getting rid of local control. If schools are not funded equally you can't expect them to all perform at their opitimum. There is near complete failure of the whole economic system, government has not reacted to changes in technology, changes in markets, changes in trade, the way they did in the past, we have a system that is almost totally obsolete because there has been no change in policies, even though the World has changed dramatically, as well as markets have changed dramatically. There are many other things that are wrong, but to list them would take forever. In short, the system is so far gone that there is no fixing of it. We cannot hope for any changes that would help the situation, it's more likely they will change the system to make it even worse, hastening our demise as a major economy. We don't have the kind of leadership, in either party, that it would take to succeed in a modern economy. We are locked into the old system and it cannot be changed, we would more likely fail completely as an economy rather than change anything. We still cling to the old system, even though we know damn well that it has failed completely. There's always this one guy who has access to millions who proposes some kind of miracle cure, when we all know that such miracle cures don't work, and really don't have much to do with the real problems.

    May 6, 2014 at 12:17 am | Reply
  14. Nerd Girl

    Why bother going to college for science or engineering when your job will just be handed over to a H1-B visa Foreign Worker who will undercut your wage for a third of what you need to make to pay your housepayment? Wake up America! We're letting hundreds of thousands of these foreign engineers, programmers, and scientists into this country and they are lowering wage scales, putting Americans out of work, and very possibly stealing corporate secrets. If you doubt that last statement, consider how much the Samsung smart phone looks like the I-phone. If you want to take potshots at America Fareek there are plenty of us that think you should go back to where you came from because this is a great, creative country that still produces most of the inventions and new technology (which other countries steal). If China is number one then it's only because they don't play fair. Americans still beat other world citizens any day in ingenuity and invention. Having a PhD doesn't mean anything if can't apply it. Henry Ford didn't have a PhD and Bill Gates didn't even graduate college.

    May 6, 2014 at 12:54 am | Reply
    • There, their, and they're

      Nerd Girl – I think you need to takes courses in micro- and macro-economics, globalization, history and sociology–then you might begin to understand what is going on around you. Get an education before you attack others for their educated opinions. There is good information in this article, it is the well-stated opinion of Mr. Zakaria, but it adds to what we are trying to understand about education in America and America's place in the world. Think about what he has to say and read other opinions on this topic, as well–educate yourself!

      May 6, 2014 at 10:30 am | Reply
      • There, their, and they're

        Correction – ". . .you need to take . . . ." And I need to proofread a little better!

        May 6, 2014 at 10:31 am |
  15. Nerd Girl

    Why did we let Fareek into this country in the first place? Be aware Mr. Zakaria that Americans do not think highly of those who are foreign born (you were born in India) who trash America while simultaneously enjoying the benefits of an American Ivy League education and our right to free speech. Try speaking your mind in India, it will get you in jail. Why are we letting so many Indians into this country? We should be letting the highly educated Irish in and the hard-working Poles. There are two many Indians in this country already.

    May 6, 2014 at 1:15 am | Reply
  16. Nerd Girl

    Per Wikipedia: Zakaria was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, to a Muslim family. His father, Rafiq Zakaria, was a politician associated with the Indian National Congress and an Islamic scholar.

    Why does CNN employ someone who clearly benefits from pressing for a pro-Indian, pro-Muslim agenda?

    America is mostly white and mostly Christian. You don't speak for us and we're tired of listening to your blatant biting of the hand that has fed you so well. If you don't have anything nice to say about America then leave.

    May 6, 2014 at 1:24 am | Reply
    • Fyre

      So your response to a well reasoned argument that has been echoed by hundreds of other educational experts is to essentially plug your ears and go 'la, la, la, I can't hear you!' You are pretty much proving his point about how backwards most Americans are. The people that are excelling academically in this country tend to be either immigrants or children of immigrants. Trying to hire American born scientists, for example, is very difficult because there are few to be found.

      May 6, 2014 at 7:32 am | Reply
  17. AO1JMM

    One of the 1st things that get cut in a budget crisis is......EDUCATION.

    May 6, 2014 at 1:48 am | Reply
  18. AO1JMM

    Question:

    Are these tests the same globally?

    May 6, 2014 at 1:52 am | Reply
    • krehator

      Of course not. The United States and a few other nations are the only nations where accurate statistics are kept. Everyone else gets to exploit a lack of it.

      May 6, 2014 at 2:16 am | Reply
  19. Pogojo

    We take in children from all over the world, they do not speak English very well, throw them in with American children, then tell the teachers they have to slow down, so these kids can learn, this slows our children's education, now we are falling behind? Hmm its no wonder why, and money is not the answer,

    May 6, 2014 at 2:04 am | Reply
  20. krehator

    People fail to consider potential. Which nation on this planet has more potential to turn itself around and lead on everything? The United States is in a slumber. It's not dead. Only a complete fool or propaganda artist would say that.

    It's funny how an imperfect world, with a long history of war and violence has such a hypocritical view of the United States. It's also funny how every something happens around the world, everyone is always looking to the United States to take the lead.

    sh or get off the pot, world.

    May 6, 2014 at 2:15 am | Reply
  21. Dissenting voices don't equal stupid!

    No we who is common core because it takes something that is simple and makes it overly complicated. It then assigns tremendous amounts of class work and homework to young children and learning becomes a burden instead of fun. Then they become burned out in third grade. As a parent of two boys I can assure you I do not have low standards for myself or my children. I started school at eight skipped third and seventh grades, graduated salutatorian of my high school class and then graduated with two bachelors- one in chemistry, one in French with mathematics and a 3.75 GPA. Scored a 90 percentile on the GMAT, 97 percentile on the mathematics section and completed my MBA with a 3.6 GPA. Anyone who has spent time in Europe or Asia know that their methods of teaching kill any joy of learning and burns them out. Elementary school kids need more recess, not more homework. Getting more exercise has been proven to help children's concentration in the classroom.

    May 6, 2014 at 2:33 am | Reply
  22. Witness

    A huge problem w/ the US education system is that it's geared to channel way way too many people into colleges. 75% of people entering college either fail to graduate or end up in jobs that don't require college.

    How dumb is that?!

    May 6, 2014 at 3:42 am | Reply
  23. David

    It seems that nobody is very excited about the idea of the US taking over the world. It doesn't appear to me that they are all too keen on the prospect of the Russians doing it either. I can't say for certain, but if I was a gambler I would bet my money that they would just as well like to take over the business of running the world themselves, except that they've got a few people in line ahead of them and they want to wait a few days, weeks months whathaveya, til they figure out a way to push and shove their way on up to the front of the line. Now all that bein said, I believe that this whole business of taking over the world should best be left to the diabolical villan. These unruly characters have troubled folks for centuries even before the making of Bond films, and probably seen as far back as when most folks still thought the world was flat with water drippin all offa the edges and such. This type of advantageous foolishness has to be a part of our genetic make-up from somewhere along the line. Bu

    May 6, 2014 at 4:06 am | Reply
  24. Steve

    Exactly what countries are doing better than America? India? China? Russia? India and China have more uneducated people living in poverty than the entire US population. Go outside of the major cities in Russia and you step back 100 years in time. I know, I've been there. Same can be said about India and China.

    Not everyone in your country needs to be a rocket scientist. I doubt anyone on this forum knows of anyone who invented something important or did anything worthwhile that benefited humanity. All it takes is a few geniuses to keep a country on top. The rest of the people are just workers. Besides, does it even matter anymore for a country to be "on top?" It's a global economy. If some doctor in Timbuktu finds the cure for cancer, he's not keeping it to himself. If some guy in China comes out with a new invention, he's not keeping it for China. The whole world benefits these day.

    I remember reading one of these idiotic reports that New Zealand graduates a higher percentage of kids from college than the US. You know what? They are still New Zealand and the US is still one of the top countries in the world.

    May 6, 2014 at 5:32 am | Reply
  25. tklimchuk

    The Connectiut schoolmater and lawyer Noah Webster contented that the American schoolboy should be educated as a patriot a soon as he opens his lips Webster as wrote he should rehease the history of his own country,he should lisp the praise of liberty and those illustrious heroes and statemen who have wrought a revolution in her favour this from the book History of the United States to 1877 by T Harry Williams. Richard N Current, Frank Freidel All Americans from US Universities

    May 6, 2014 at 5:53 am | Reply
  26. tim o'callaghan

    conservative governors and legislatures across the country have been slashing school funding for several years......ever since they realized that the questions educated folks ask are more difficult to answer

    May 6, 2014 at 7:47 am | Reply
  27. ✠RZ✠

    It is indeed a breath of fresh air to be reading so many on-topic comments with as many valid points and observations. I'm entirely confident that solving the failings of education parallels that of trying to fix our global problems via micromanagement. Clearly, micromanagement can have it's fortes, and when it comes to learning I wouldn't necessarily toss out anything. But once again, our major deficiency lies in the overall way we look upon education as a society on the whole society, and both teachers and students alike. Or might I say "masters" and "disciples" (?). Putting aside any possible shadows from any number of specific controversial sensations such as music by The Ramones, Pink Floyd, or any stereo type movies and TV shows from a similar genre, the truth is that in general we still do not approach or respect education for what it is. Education is an infinite, invaluable, and incredibly powerful tool necessary to promoting all aspects of a health, prosperous, comfortability, peace, and life. And like any tool, if you don't have it, or don't know how, when, or where to use it effectively, then don't expect much back in return. Our society, our values, and our outlooks would need to change somewhat first before we could implement and capitalize on the miracle of education. But until then, it'll likely remain a free-for-all like most other important issues.

    May 6, 2014 at 8:05 am | Reply
  28. BB

    I love the way many of our fellow true American citizens tell Zakaria to go back where he came from where undoubtedly there is no freedom of a speech like in the US.

    How about that; freedom of speech but shut your mouth because we don't agree with you. These true uneducated Americans don't understand that a lack of respect to fellow citizens and different opinions except for one's own ideas is oppressive and anti American. True Americans appreciate freedom is all about free unfettered discussion and respect for each other.

    May 6, 2014 at 8:29 am | Reply
  29. Adam

    "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" ...Seriously? This is why you think parents are outraged at Common Core? You sir, have little to no understanding of the debate. Common Core is nothing more than a complete takeover of our education system by the Federal Government. The standards set are absolutely NOT world class and are established with lowest common denominator in mind. The math that is taught is sub-par and ludicrous in its execution. The Language Arts have virtually eliminated classic literature in favor of "informational texts" (that would be periodicals to you and I). Even the creators of this curriculum agree that it does not meet what people imagine when they say "world class". Jason Zimba, lead writer for the Common Core mathematics standards admits they are not nearly good enough to get you into selective colleges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJZY4mh2rt8
    No sir, we are angry about Common Core because it is mediocratization and indoctrination...it is NOT education.

    May 6, 2014 at 8:44 am | Reply
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