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The best and brightest, alas, aren’t Americans

Jul 25, 2017 • by Mike Zielinski, Host of The Mike Zielinski Show
Mike Zielinski

We Americans, of course, think we’re the best country in the world at everything.

We have a swagger and a strut and a sense of entitlement on the world stage.

Granted, that profile may be shrinking just a tad in recent years but the United States still casts one big shadow.

After all, our democracy, even with Washington bivouacked with partisanship gridlock in recent years, is the best there ever was.

But we’re not as smart as we think we are.

School bells soon will be ringing for another academic year and our teachers and students have better hit the books and tablets with increased gusto.

It also would help if more parents got involved in their kids’ education.

My father was very involved in my education. If I didn’t get all A’s, he gave me a graduate course in chastisement.

The 2017 Best Countries in Education rankings were formed in partnership with global marketing communications company Y&R’s brand strategy firm, BAV Consulting, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Those folks at Wharton are smart cookies and know all about education. Donald Trump went to Wharton and went on to found Trump University.

The rankings are based on scores on a compilation of two equally weighted country attributes: well-developed public education system and would consider attending university there.

Uncle Sam is ranked seventh, which if my math serves me, is six spots below No. 1.

Thank God that our Founding Fathers didn’t live long enough to see our academic slide.

What really stings is that our neighbor to the North, Canada, ranks No. 1

Well, if they’re so smart up there, how come they say eh instead of huh and aboot instead of about? And when hockey players from Canada say organEYEzation, I want to put them in the penalty box.

Rounding out the top five Best Countries in Education in order are the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and France.

European students evidently spend more time studying and less time on social media than their American counterparts.

You say that Australia is not in Europe? Don’t blame me if my geography sucks. I’m a product of the American education system.

So, why are these countries ranked higher than us?

Some feel that our education system no longer is as efficient as it once was and that students do not want to go to school and students do not want to be taught what is being taught because of overwork and over testing.

Overworked? When I was in high school, I had six hours of homework every night. And that was after walking five miles to school and five miles back home – uphill both ways.

I can’t explain how it could be uphill both ways because I took geology in an American school.

Others say that students and teachers are being stressed to the max by a rigid, top-down control structure that makes it more and more difficult for students to learn.

Some same there really is no true American education system because it’s in the hands of the individual states and school districts. And your zip code often dictates the quality of your education.

It has become an American sport to pile on the shortcomings of our educational system.

Perhaps it’s an indictment that is unfair.

Could it simply be that too many of our kids (neither yours nor mine, of course) have rocks in their head?

Finally, we should keep being No. 7 in perspective. Seven, after all, rhymes with heaven. I learned that in poetry class in an American school.

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