American Education System


This is exactly why these surveys are crap.

I’m not sure if you’re serious, but that is false. I have to get going, but here’s a quick rundown (we’ve had this discussion before): 76.7% of Canada’s ~33mm people are in the non-hispanic white majority. In the US that is 63.7% of ~309mm people. So there are roughly 8mm racial minorities in Canada and 112mm in the US. I won’t get into the different histories of those minorities as well, but the point is that it’s not as simple as just implementing a mass system of testing a la no child left behind. Centralized policy often does not work in the US because it is such a diverse country.

^ Depends on how you define diverse I guess. Canada has 5.65 migrants per 1,000 people, whereas the US has 3.62 per 1,000. I acknowledge the US has issues with diversity, but in order to stay competitive, these people need quality education too. Just providing numi and itera’s kids with world class education won’t help America stay competitive. And this is somewhat of a recent trend, the West used to be leaders at this problem solving type education stuff. We already lost manufacturing to Asia. If we want to retain our knowledge industries, we must invest in high standards of education for our entire societies, not just the elite. This isn’t just an American issue either. Canada is rapidly dumbing down it’s public education system as well. It’s a real threat to our future and something I’m quite passionate about.

Not USA. You didn’t build that.

Definitely don’t agree with that. Smart is not enough. Even kids with potential need the opportunity to flourish.

So lets see

Developing countries like India/China don’t take into account the entire population.

Canada has a population that is the tenth of the US and I doubt the Canucks are even comparable to our friends down in Alabamar…

Bottomline - too many variables skewing the results.

Cross-country comparisons are always challenging. It’s very difficult to know if you can trust the results. Everyone seems to agree the U.S. has good universities. People from abroad come to study here. At a minimum, we could make it easier for foreign graduates of American universities to stay here. That seems like low-hanging fruit. Let Finland educate their middle schoolers better, but if we can get the top Fin-ish students to come here and stay, then I think we’ll be better off.

The biggest problem in America is that low income schools, particularly with high concentrations of African- and Hispanic-Americans, aren’t doing a very good job. When you look at it, a big reason is that schools are financed largely by local property taxes. In poor areas, not as much taxes means not as much schooling. A solution might be a change to the way that education is paid for. Suppose the Federal government got (or has) information on costs per student to run a school that would perform at what today might be a median level of education attainment in a given location (as in a poor area doesn’t have enough of a school, broadly speaking, and a rich area has too much school). This would correct for different wages and costs of buildings. The Federal governmetn could then give every school that amount based on the number of students. Ideally, the Federal government would limit its interference. Each state and local government could then provide additional funding to the sort of median level. However, you could then dramatically lower property taxes because the bulk of funding should be coming from the Federal taxes (so we would probably have to raise those). It would still be possible to have local governments manage the schools.

The above could easily be adapted into a voucher system where the Federal government converts its per student transfer to schools to a voucher. Then combined with other vouchers from state and local governments. Every student could then decide what school they want to go to with the result of the vouchers fully covering the cost of your local school and other schools potentially being more expensive requiring you to pay the difference.


I think i would have done better if i was born in a developed country.

Why? What held you back?


Opportunities to really succeed hold back people in the US too. There are only so many spots for incoming BB IB Analysts. There are only so many roles to be a movie star. I could continue, but you get the point. Unless you mean an opportunity to learn. Which is actually a big problem in a lot of third world countries.

What opportunities were lacking within your educational system? Were you lacking decent books, safe places to study, or food? I’m not trying to bust ballls, just trying to understand. I am of the mindset that someone who is smart and has the desire to learn will do so as long as their basic needs are met, including a safe environment, and there is reasonable access to books and other resources. I had the advantage of growing up in a very safe, middle-income, US suburb though, so I can’t speak from experience.

Too much stress is paid on academic excellence than personality development and entrepreneurship.

the only “opportunity” i can think of is that asian countries tend to value tests and not much else. so brilliant kids who aren’t the best test takers or don’t fit the mold of assignign everyone a single exam score that determines you future have more “opportunity” in the US where it’s not all about the SAT score

I went to a school system that was pretty bad. There is a big contrast between education in the US or other developed countries and in resource poor developing countries.

First of all, the quality of teaching was not very good. Public school teachers are paid low wages and receive sub standard education to begin with. Students learn very little from normal school, and this is why so many of them pay for extra tutoring outside of normal school.

Second, extra curricular activities are non existent. There was no funding for any kind of club. Most students had no opportunity to participate in team sports. There was no music program or any kind of meaningful arts education.

Third, expensive teaching equipment like science labs and computers were poor or unavailable. I had no access to programming classes in high school. While we had a science lab, the equipment was 50 years old and teachers were poorly trained in its use.

Finally, basic funding was just unavailable or mismanaged. In elementary school, we ran out of chairs, so a quarter of the class sat on the floor. When something like a door gets broken, it does not get fixed. We did not have janitorial staff (!). Students cleaned the classroom themselves. No one cleaned the school rest room. It was truly pathetic. In high school, the principal embezzled money from the school and no one did anything. The culture of corruption and mismanagement was just so prevalent.

Of course, this was in Asia, so everyone was still obsessed with academics. The best students receive nothing from the school system, but they excel in tests because they are culturally motivated to do well. Compare this to the US, where the system provides ample opportunities but students do not take advantage of these to the maximum extent.

^ Which country?


I think the US higher education system is like the US healthcare system, full of great institutions that do world class research, and are basically luxury hotels with a very high cost and offer comparatively limited value relative to the expenditure.

US public high schools, on the other hand I like, if you lived in a middle class suburban area, the schools tend to be quite good, with good facilities. Private schools, IMO are an utter waste of money unless you are in a bad school district, in which case they are a must.