Since 2009 nearly every indicator of a nation’s health has shown the U.S. is in decline compared to other major nations. It seems the “change” that was promised in the great campaign of 2008 has come about. But is unimaginable debt passed on to a generation less able to compete in the world economy the change the world’s second most ignorant voters were expecting?
The third largest market research firm in the world, IPSOS, says the U.S. is ranked the second most ignorant country in the world in our population’s understanding of two areas that should be a free market democracy’s strong points, voting patterns and unemployment rates. Meanwhile the organization that ranks educational systems among 65 developed nations has once again reported further decline in rank for U.S. student performance. The most recent results now place our high school students out of the top 20 in all three areas tested; math, science, and reading. Math is about to fall out of the top 30 as it now stands at 29th. The 4 point drop in math since 2009 is pale compared to the 10 point drop in reading.
While it is the popular cry of the teachers’ organizationn, lack of money is proven as not the problem since the U.S. spends more per student than most of the countries scoring higher. If that were not proof enough, consider the horrific performance of New York Schools where the spending per student is among the highest in the world. Mark Naison of the Fordham University Urban Studies Program presents a case that the “culture of testing” in the U.S. is fueling an emphasis on rote memorization instead of critical thinking. That opinion is evidenced by the recent sentencing to prison of several Georgia teachers and administrators for changing tests scores to reflect better performance of students and teachers.
This year begins a widening of the infamous Common Core Curriculum and PARC testing. More emphasis on testing to evaluate teacher performance – not student knowledge. It might be said that Common Core should be named “Communist” Core, but since the U.S. ranks lower than Russia and even the Slovak Republic, that title might be confused as a compliment.
We are now at the start of the race for the next president. According to Google, the people searching for background information about Hillary Clinton aren’t looking for details about her long history of escaping criminal prosecution for activities from the Rose Law Firm to the FBI files mysteriously found in her office. Her Benghazi cover-up wasn’t even making the grade for background information.
It seems that even at #2, IPSOS may be underestimating voter ignorance. Maybe we can be ranked #1 yet.