Thomas Sowell

Education "experts" are a dime a dozen -- and are over-priced at that. These "experts" are a major part of the reason why American school children lag behind children in other countries on international tests.

How surprised should we be when the same education gurus whose fads and fashions reign in California schools say that what the children should be tested on is their absorption of these fads and fashions, rather than anything so mundane as the three R's or science?

Despite these attempts to paint the results on these new and special tests as some kind of vindication of the public school system, there is a very revealing statistic in this news story whose implications apparently escape the reporter entirely.

While 26 percent of California's elementary schools scored above the level considered "excellent," only 14 percent of middle schools did and just 7 percent of high schools.

Other tests reported elsewhere show a similar pattern. Young schoolchildren in the United States score better, relative to their peers in other countries, but fall progressively further behind the longer they stay in school.

What this shows is that American children are not innately less intelligent but that the American school system leaves them falling further and further behind the longer they stay in our pubic schools.

That is the same pattern in California schools, despite all the self-congratulation and the media spin.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate