Originally Posted by velochic
There actually isn't a single American in dh's department and the discussion of primary and secondary education is a topic of interest among his colleagues. They are the product of non-American education and they see a diverse student body that is both American and non-American. Year after year they see the same thing... American students aren't nearly as prepared as non-US students.
you seem to believe that every school in the US is inferior to every other school in the world, ect for the one school that your child attends, which is, of course better. You can't honestly expect others to agree with you about such sweeping statements.
May be the reason that his department is full of non-americans is that the americans got better paying jobs in private industry. I don't know. My DH works in private industry but has ties to the university here, and the engineering department (which is one of the top schools in the nation for engineering) is mostly American. Maybe it varies by field.
There isn't ONE american education system. In my own city, which isn't even a particularly big city, there is a massive difference between the public high school on the north side of town (where the median home price is $400,000 and the school is amazing,) and the south side of town, where 90% of the students don't speak English as the first language, and many don't speak English at all. Some of the high school students are recently arrivals in the US, and aren't literate in ANY language. I think that what the school is attempting to do is harder and more important than the school on the north side, even though every stat on the school is in the toilet and it always will be.
Then we have a collection of magnet schools and charters, and of course private schools. Although I've never seen stats for it, I suspect that private schools are in reach for a high % percentage of American than Europeans because our economic structure is so different and so much more open.
My DH is British by birth (and American by choice) and works in an international field. He got a fantastic education in British boarding school that has served him well. We also see kids getting great educations in the US. And we know of the inequalities in the British system as well as the American. (and kids start school at 4 and start with real academics -- none of the prancing around in the forest for British kids!)
Each county has their own strengths and weaknesses, and one of the strengths of the American system is the attempt (not always successful) to educate everyone -- even special needs students. My DD with autism is MUCH better off in the US than she would be in most European counties.
I asked my DH his opinion on your points about education, and he pointed out that British students are older and have had more years of study when they complete secondary school.
Besides, the US is the richest, more powerful, most innovative country in the world (which is why smart people from the rest of the world want to be here). If you don't give our messed up educational systems at least SOME of the credit for that, you are left with TV and fast food as the reason for our success.