Why is the U.S. so good at athletics — look at the Olympic medal count — and so mediocre in education? Not so fast, answers Mike Petrilli on Flypaper. Sure, the U.S. and China win the most gold (and silver and bronze) medals. We’re also very big countries. Looking at the per capita medal count (as of Aug. 10) tells a different story.
The U.S. ranks 40th in Olympic medals per capita on the chart, but “an impressive eighth in the world in reading” on PISA, Petrilli writes.
In raw numbers of high-scoring students, the U.S. is number one for math and reading, according to PISA. (Remember that China and India don’t participate.)
It’s good to be big, Petrilli writes.
The reason that the world’s best universities continue to be populated by so many Americans is that (1) most of those universities are here, and (2) we produce more top K-12 students than anybody else. As long as that’s the case, we will continue to lead the world economically and culturally.
But watch out for the Chinese.