With China’s debut in international standardized testing, students in Shanghai have surprised experts by outscoring their counterparts in dozens of other countries, in reading as well as in math and science, according to the results of a respected exam.
“I’ve seen how relentless the Chinese are at accomplishing goals, and if they can do this in Shanghai in 2009, they can do it in 10 cities in 2019, and in 50 cities by 2029.” said Chester E. Finn Jr., who served in President Ronald Reagan’s Department of Education.
If China’s large cities are doing this well, how can the US compete? What can we do to increase the education attainment of all our students, so that America’s future will be as bright as it’s past? Because just wishing and talking about American exceptionalism won’t cut the mustard.
“We have to see this as a wake-up call,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in an interview on Monday.
President Obama spoke to college students and recalled Russia’s spacecraft launch:
“Fifty years later, our generation’s Sputnik moment is back,” Mr. Obama said. With billions of people in India and China “suddenly plugged into the world economy,” he said, nations with the most educated workers will prevail. “As it stands right now,” he said, “America is in danger of falling behind.”