Patrick J. Buchanan: Does the future belong to Asia?
For the United States, the report card is dismal. The U.S. ranking has fallen to 17th in reading, 21st in science, and 26th in math.
In the academic Olympics, the American superpower is a mediocrity.
Ranked one through seven in test scores in reading, science and math were Shanghai-China, Singapore, Hong Kong-China, Taiwan, South Korea, Macau-China, Japan. Also well ahead of the United States is Vietnam.
Fifteen-year-olds in two ex-Soviet republics, Estonia and Latvia, also posted grades in math and science superior to those of America's young.
Excuse me, but how many wake-up calls do we need?
In October 1957, we got our first when the brutalitarian and backward superpower built by Josef Stalin beat America into space.
Meanwhile, the country was on fire over the issue of education.
In 1983, came "A Nation at Risk: The Imperative For Educational Reform," the report of President Ronald Reagan's National Commission on Excellence in Education. Conclusion: America's schools, even then, 30 years ago, were failing the nation.
How can a lack of money explain our declining test scores when America continues to spend more per capita on education than almost any other country? Yet, the more we spend, the lower the test scores we get back in global competition?
Yet, have we not fought a 50-year war on poverty since LBJ's Great Society? And not only have countless trillions of dollars been spent, the poor in America receive benefits of which the world's poor could only dream.
Do the Vietnamese have a higher per capita income than we?
Is there less poverty and more emphasis on education in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City than New York City and Washington, D.C.?
Forty percent of American children are born out of wedlock, but for Hispanics it is 53 percent and for African-Americans 73 percent.
Looking again at those PISA test scores, other than East Asia — China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam — hardly any other nation of Southeast or South Asia, the Arab or Muslim world, Africa or Latin America, is in the top forty in academic performance.
Just as East Asians and Europeans excel in the PISA tests, so, too, do Americans of East Asian and European descent dominate test scores and excel in educational achievement, while our Hispanic and African-American students trail.
Yet, Hispanic and African-Americans are more than 30 percent of the U.S. population and 35 percent of those in our public schools.
Where, then, are the grounds for optimism that we can turn this around?
And if we cannot, ought we not accept the inevitable?
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?"
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