Updated: January 19, 2013 6:06AM
Dr. Wallace: I’m a 16-year-old girl who has a serious question regarding our school system in the United States. Lately I have been reading about low test scores and how lousy our education system is compared to other nations, especially Japan.
I always thought that the United States was a leader when it came to education, and I was shocked when I read that we are far behind educationally compared to most industrial countries. Why are we so educationally deficient? Why do so many of our kids quit school?
Nameless: Comparing the Japanese educational system to the educational system in the United States is like comparing apples to oranges. The Japanese system is structured to educate a student population that is 99.9 percent native-born Japanese who were reared in traditional Japanese families that place a high premium on the value of education. From an early age, Japanese students are expected to study hard and excel in school.
We, too, place a high premium on educational values, but we must spend much more time and money educating our children because of our diversified cultural heritage and the fact that many of these students speak no English.
As a former high school principal, I can tell you that some American students have a higher drop-out rate than in some countries simply because their parents do not place a high priority on education.
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