Saturday, January 14, 2006


Re: Stupid Americans

I'm still stumped on why Americans are behind the rest of the developed world in education. If it were attributable only to the government near-monopoly on education, then why is Europe doing better than us? Aren't they socialized when it comes to education?

But then, our kids still grow up to run businesses well and keep America at the top of any rank of overall living standards. So what gives?

An interesting thing to think about is the optimal amount of education. "What is that amount?", you may ask. Well if you ask me, it's the amount that results when everyone acts based on their perceived benefit and cost, and nothing gets in the way of those perceptions. The current system definitely gets in the way of, if not completely shatters, those perceptions.

A counterintuitive result from this definition is that some countries may have "too much" education since they mandate it or subsidize it so heavily.

Questions on the sentence: "then why is Europe doing better than us?"?
1 - How would you document this statement?
2 - How do you expect your reader to evaluate the word "better"?
3 - What population is included in the word "us"?
4 - How do you define "Europe"? Please take a look at this map and judge how your statement fits to any and all of these countries:
Europe is marked green.
Thanks for your time.

Niels Jessen, Denmark
1. "At age 10, American students take an international test and score well above the international average. But by age 15, when students from 40 countries are tested, the Americans place 25th."
-from the 20/20 show

2. Standardized test scores

3. United States high schoolers

4. I should have said "all the countries that score higher than the U.S. in standardized tests" instead of "Europe." I actually can't find that list, so I'm not sure if they're mostly in Europe or not.

In hindsight, this was overall a sloppy post. Perhaps it reflects years of public schooling.
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