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How do American students stack up?

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Updated: January 23, 2012 2:29AM



Dr. Wallace: Our English teacher is very strict and is a “hard” grader. In other words, it’s hard to get a good grade in his class. One of his biggest gripes is that American students are lazy and spend more time on sex, drugs, alcohol and watching TV than they do on studying.

He also reminds us that students in Europe and Asia are brighter and spend more time on academics than American students. Do you believe this to be true or is our teacher just trying to “inspire” us to be better students?

Nameless, Hammond

Nameless: It’s true that U.S. students trail many strong industrial nations. Scores from a recent Program for International Student Assessment show that 15-year-old American students are about “average” in science and reading and below average in mathematics. Out of 34 countries in the study, the U.S. students ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in mathematics. The American scores are higher than they were in 2006, but we are far behind the highest-scoring countries of South Korea, Finland, Canada, Singapore, China and Japan.

However, your teacher must remember that our American educational system does its very best to educate all of our students, regardless of their ability to learn. Many nations use the “tracking” method of educating their students, meaning only the brightest are treated as college eligible. The remaining students are on the “trades” track and rarely have the opportunity of obtaining a college degree. Also, many American students who are not fluent in English find it more difficult to learn even though they are highly intelligent. Our government continues to place a great deal of emphasis on improving educational for all students.

Parents play a major role in their children’s educational success, regardless of their children’s mental ability to learn. There is an extremely high correlation between successful students and parents who take an interest in their children’s education. Sadly, the correlation between lazy parents and lazy students is also very high. It is the goal of all educators to encourage parents to take a more active role in their child’s education, beginning at an early age.

The majority of American students are not lazy. The United States of America is a world leader in the areas of medicine, science, farming, engineering and many more. Plus, most importantly, the U.S. provides freedom for all of its citizens. That’s why many oppressed people of the world want to come to our country.



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