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Brain power

Posted: October 10, 2013 11:27 a.m.
Updated: October 11, 2013 5:00 a.m.

It’s no secret that American young people are lagging their counterparts in many other countries in academic performance. For several years, we’ve been bombarded with news stories about the problems kids are facing in a competitive world. Now comes word that it’s not only American youths who aren’t able to compete, but adults in the workplace, too. And it’s disturbing.

An international comparison of the labor force in 23 industrialized nations indicates Americans between 16 and 65 fall below international averages in basic problem-solving, reading and math skills. Read closely: that says below the international average. We’re not even in the top half, much less the upper tier. A sample of questions asked workers during the study indicates that the situations posed them didn’t require rocket-science intellectual acumen -- only a basic ability to compute and reason. Older Americans did best, keeping up with their counterparts and even surpassing them in many of the tests. But younger adults fell far behind.

We’ve been arguing about education for years now, and this latest study shows that as a country, we continue to fall further behind other developed nations. As time passes, this is going to have grave implications for the United States. It’s yet another piece of bad news about a country that once was the world’s kingpin.

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