Hanushek and Peterson on American students

Monday, August 29, 2011
Hoover senior fellows Eric Hanushek (left) and Paul Peterson
Hoover senior fellows Eric Hanushek (left) and Paul Peterson

“The enemy I fear most is complacency. We are about to be hit by the full force of global competition. If we continue to ignore the obvious task at hand…our children and grandchildren will pay the price.” Charles Vest, the former president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Eric Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and member of the Koret Task Force on K–12 Education, and Paul Peterson, senior fellow, member of the Koret Task Force on K–12 Education, and editor in chief of Education Next: A Journal of Opinion and Research, discuss the math proficiency of American students in comparison to the world in the Newsweek article “Why Can't American Students Compete?” According to the statistics, “32 percent of US public and private-school students in the class of 2011 are deemed proficient in mathematics, placing the United States 32nd among the 65 nations that participated in the latest international tests administered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)” (Hanushek and Peterson) whereas, Shanghai has a rate of 75 percent math proficiency. Hanushek and Peterson argue that the United States could have a higher GDP were it to increase its math proficiency rates. “The economic benefits from reform would not be felt immediately, as it takes time for an educated generation to become a productive workforce” (Hanushek and Peterson).