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8.10.2005

American high schools not challenging enough 

Here's a quote from my old quantum mechanics professor that ended up in the yearbook. When I was in his class, he gave us a midterm that had a table of contents. Anyhoo, here's the quote:


Student: Professor Arias, why do you make us work so hard?

Prof. Arias: Because we have to keep up with the Russians!


I bring this up because CNN has declared that American high schools are too easy. I guess the kids themselves realize that school basically serves as (1) expensive, tax-funded child care and (2) an exaggerated social microcosm where the beautiful and the athletic thrive and the maladjusted are killed and eaten. Or go on shooting sprees.

Ask anybody who grew up in Russia, India, China, South Korea, etc. -- they'll tell you that high school kids in America are 2-4 years behind kids of the same age from their native countries in math and science. Some even go so far as to heckle our math olympiad contests.

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