Wednesday, August 13, 2008

After Opening Olympic Weekend, Americans Ranked 25th (in Education) - a U.S. Chamber blog entry

The following was an interesting blog post taken from the ICW's Workforce and Education Newsletter, a monthly publication of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for a Competitive Workforce (August 2008, Volume 9, Issue 8). We thought it tied in nicely with education and workforce (Workforce 2020), and really makes you think about how many perceive education in today's society.

"The Olympics began on Friday with an opening flourish that few will soon forget. Thousands of individual performers, turning in nothing less than perfection. Unbelievable technical achievements, including the world's largest LED screen. In one of the acts, two-thousand and eight drummers counted down to the official opening of the games. It was summed up rather well by NBC commentator, Matt Lauer, who said it was, "Awe-inspiring and perhaps intimidating."

Well, if you are just now getting intimidated by the talents of the Chinese, you simply are not paying attention, which unfortunately seems to be a large part of the problem.

As of today, we are currently ranked first in the medal count, with China lurking just behind. However, if we were to swap our athletic standing with our academic standing, we would currently be between Azerbaijan and Slovakia, ranked somewhere around 25th in the world according to the most recent international testing benchmarks. (By the way, both of those nations scored higher than the U.S. on the latest mathematics PISA tests.)

Doubtlessly, if we ranked 25th in medals, we would have woken up this morning to fervent debate, endless handwringing, and zealously-heeded calls to action. To wit, when our Olympic basketball team won the bronze in 2004, getting back to the top was the subject of a national debate that was as vast as it was hyperbolic."

Click here for full story.

Originally published 12 August 2008. Reprinted by permission,, August 2008. Copyright© 2008 U.S. Chamber of Commerce - All Rights Reserved.

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