I intended to write something light and fluffy today but a CNN article on the most recent International Student Assessment (PISA) test results got my rant meter pegged at 100%. Sorry :-)
More than half a million students, aged 15 and 16, sat a two-hour exam last year as part of the assessment. Pupils came from 65 countries representing 80% of the global economy. Shanghai's results topped the list of countries. Congratulations to them. Where did the United States rank? Try 36th!
I was disheartened. I was angry, I was upset. Guess what, I still am! Some on the fringe right may argue that US public schools have been failing ever since God and prayer were removed from the classroom. I contend that it isn’t a lack of prayer, but rather a lack of hard work and determination, a lack of parental involvement and discipline. We live in a culture of entitlement, where everyone has to be equal. There are no winners and losers. You can’t have a winner because you may hurt someone’s feelings. Johnny, I know you struggle with math, but you’re really good at video games, aren’t you.
My grandfather, Louie Venturini came to America in 1908 when he was eight years old. He never made it past the 4th grade, yet he was a successful farmer and a very successful owner/operator of a coal mine. He started working when teams of horses plowed fields and canaries were the early-warning signal for carbon monoxide in the mines. No one handed my grandfather anything. He worked hard. He persevered. He was determined and he did well.
Is every child in the US failing? Of course not. Are there achievers out there? Definitely. However, in a broad sense we as a country are failing our most precious commodity—our children, our future. I’m not smart enough to shape educational policy. All I’m advocating is common sense and hard work with a good measure of stick-to-itiveness thrown in. It worked very well for my grandfather.
Here's the CNN article: