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Our view: Set pace on education

The New York Post didn’t sugar coat its headline:

“U.S. adults are dumber than the average human.”

The story for said headline was about a test conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Researchers tested 166,000 people ages 16 to 65 in more than 20 countries, including the U.S. The results were not good.

In math, reading and problem-solving using technology – all skills considered critical for global competitiveness and economic strength – American adults scored below the international average. Adults from Japan, Canada, Australia, Finland and many other countries scored ahead of American adults in all three areas.

The results are disturbing and further illustrate how much farther behind we are falling from the rest of the world. We need a well-educated country to continue to prosper.

Some point to the amount of money we spend on education. We don’t buy that. U.S. taxpayers pay plenty to educate our children. Teachers should not shoulder the blame, either.

We think parents bear the most responsibility.

Children who have parents who are active in their education tend to do better in school. Parents’ expectations drive their children’s level of education.

Guess what? Parents today and over the past 20 years are busier than they were 30 or 40 years ago. It is not uncommon now for both parents to be working. More parents now rely on schools not only to educate their children, but also to motivate them and, in some cases, to raise them.

To become more competitive, parents must be more involved in their children’s education. They must establish expectations, motivate their children to reach those expectations, and offer any help along the way.

Adults and children alike also need to understand that learning does not stop when they graduate from high school or college. Learning is a lifelong experience. In today’s rapidly changing world, with technological advances changing how we live our lives, it’s more important than ever for adults to keep pace.

Doing so might help us get from below average to average. Our goal, however, should be above average. Set the pace. Don’t fall behind.

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