Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

‘Dynamism’ of Economy Doesn’t Extend to Schools

February 15, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Gerald W. Bracey makes a common error in his effort to prove that America’s education system is doing better than naysayers would have the public believe (“Education’s ‘Groundhog Day’,” Feb. 2, 2005). His argument, essentially, is this: If our schools are so bad, how come our economy is so good?

Our economy is stronger than that of other advanced countries because it is freer. Let me provide an example. Mr. Bracey cites one-time economic powerhouse Japan to make his case: “A few years after A Nation at Risk appeared, the economy of high-scoring Japan slumped. It has yet to recover. Japanese kids still ace tests. They finished sixth in math and second in science in PISA 2003, and second, second, third, and fifth in the four rankings in TIMSS 2003. But somehow their stellar performance with tests doesn’t grow Japan’s gross domestic product.”

Japan cannot compete with the United States—whatever the skills of its young people—because it protects 90 percent of its businesses from outside competition. This protection has crippled its economy.

The United States is not immune to protectionist folly, but most countries are an order of magnitude more protectionist than we are. That is what’s behind our economic dynamism.

There is one industry, however, that we zealously protect from competition: primary and secondary education. Fortunately for us, so do our global competitors.

But what if we were bold enough to give the dynamism that makes the rest of our economy strong free rein in the crisis-laden, constantly-spinning-our-wheels world of K-12 education?

Tom Shuford

Retired Teacher

Lenoir, N.C.

A version of this article appeared in the February 16, 2005 edition of Education Week as ‘Dynamism’ of Economy Doesn’t Extend to Schools

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Personalized Learning Webinar
No Time to Waste: Individualized Instruction Will Drive Change
Targeted support and intervention can boost student achievement. Join us to explore tutoring’s role in accelerating the turnaround. 
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools
Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Social-Emotional Learning: Making It Meaningful
Join us for this event with educators and experts on the damage the pandemic did to academic and social and emotional well-being.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Privacy & Security Webinar
K-12 Cybersecurity in the Real World: Lessons Learned & How to Protect Your School
Gain an expert understanding of how school districts can improve their cyber resilience and get ahead of cybersecurity challenges and threats.
Content provided by Microsoft

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 23, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: November 2, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: October 19, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: October 12, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read