President Barack Obama came to a startling realization last week while in South Korea: the educational system in South Korea is better at teaching kids math and science than ours is. In fact, when it comes to those subjects, the differences are truly startling. American students rank 21st in science and 25th in math compared with students in other countries, and they rank even lower vis-à-vis many Asian countries such as Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.
CNN reported on the President’s tour of South Korean schools. Obama was visibly impressed with both what he saw and with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s explanation of why his country’s children excel:
Lee Myung-Bak: Even if somebody is dirt poor, they are insisting that their kids are getting the best education.
The dropout rate for South Korean students is negligible, while ours has tripled in the past 30 years. South Korean children spend more time in the classroom, and while in school, they study hard. Obama concedes this fact:
Barack Obama: There is a hunger for knowledge [in South Korea], an insistence on excellence, a reverence for science and math and technology and learning.
So what does the President propose in order to get American students back on the right educational track and give them the skills which will allow them to take advantage of “expanding opportunit[ies] for all Americans in a world where education is the key to success?”
Will he order that the American educational system,which has been so politicized and imbued with liberal ideologies that both the curricula and the educators have been corrupted, be immediately and radically reformed? Will he begin to purge textbooks of leftist and politically correct content designed (and so carefully selected and presented) to have the greatest effect on impressionable young minds? Or, perhaps he will reign in the teachers’ unions, which have become increasingly more powerful and vocal in lobbying for non-educational issues?
None of the above.
The President, as usual, has taken the wrong approach to the problem. His answer is the “Educate to Innovate Campaign (EIC),” and he has enlisted the aid of that premier educator of children: Big Bird.
Obama explains that, EIC will be a two-year initiative focused on “Sesame Street,” where kids will be taught about math and science with an after-school program focusing on robotics. There will even be a national “lab” day to “provide students with hands-on scientific learning,” he proudly announced.
This program is about “expanding opportunity for all Americans in a world where education is the key to success. That used to be what we were about,” Obama said. “That’s what we’re going to be about again.”
If that’s the plan, then we’re in a heap of trouble.