Where do you get your information from? If you neo-liberals werent so intent on blaming it all on the teachers unions, you might look beyond achievement test scores to how our K – 12 compares in other ways with other countries.
The United States universities are still the envy of the developed world, even if our K – 12 is not. American students still surpass those of other other countries once they get beyond K – 12. Why? Because we socialize them earlier and develop their intellects later, and ages 18 – 22 seem to be the most critical years for intellectual development.
I live, and teach, in Japan, one of the places neo-liberals envy for its educational system. Students spend so much of their first eighteen years preparing for those achievement tests and university entrance exams that, by the time they get to university, they have lost their zeal for study. So they spend those critical years for their intellectual development doing anything but studying.
By and large, they cant do anything without close guidance from a teacher because that is what they are used to. They can’t apply what they have learned, can’t communicate effectively, can’t think critically, and can’t work together with other people.
Business people are the last we should listen to on education. All they want are employees who take orders and accept the pittance provided them because they haven’t the confidence in what they know to negotiate a better pay package.