If you didn’t see 20/20 last Friday night, with John Stossel’s report on “Stupid in America,” find a way to see it on a rerun, find someone who taped it and borrow the tape, get a tape from ABC, whatever. It is a must-see for anyone involved with the K-12 public education system as a parent or a taxpayer or a concerned citizen. Of course, the NEA and the AFT are up in arms about it because it goes completely against their agenda, not to mention that they are pinpointed as a big part of the problem.
Of particular note were the comments from the Belgian teenagers as they were interviewed about their performance relative to that of American high schoolers on an international standardized test. “Compared to our regular tests, this was easy.” “The American kids must be stupid.”
Stossel’s pinpointing of the causes of our failing school system was, of course, oversimplified. He neglected the role of the media in shaping today’s society, and more importantly the role of the parents at home, in favor of pushing the pro-voucher, pro-choice solution (which I do agree with) and calling the teachers’ unions to task for their complicity in perpetuating the problems.
Still, his message is dead-on and needed — I see the results of the failure of our schools to do their job every week, four days a week, in my own classroom.