The Real Reason America's Schools Stink

A teacher gives out rulers to second graders in Vaasa, Finland Photograph by Oliver Morin/AFP/Getty Images

Over the next few weeks, millions of American schoolchildren will return to the classroom from summer vacation, and not a moment too soon. Compared to  those hard-studying kids in China, Korea or Finland, U.S. students appear to be chronic underachievers. The average kid in the U.S. does less than one hour of homework on average at all grade levels, according to a study from a few years ago by RAND and the Brookings Institution. A recent Council on Foreign Relations Task Force on Education Reform and National Security led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein, former head of New York City public schools, concluded that the country’s “educational failure puts the United States’ future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk.”

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