The state of general education within the US has long been a subject much in dispute. Critics have argued that the nation’s primary and secondary public education systems have lost sight of educating children in the core disciplines of science, mathematics and reading. Yet, it is difficult to argue against the US’ equally long leadership role in the creative arts, scientific research, and technology development. The necessity of finding a compromise between emphasizing core disciplines while maintaining the US’ public education system’s recognized capacity to produce creative graduates who are able to reason effectively and solve problems in a creative fashion should be the focus of education reform. A recent article in the New York Times demonstrated just how effective emphasis on the core disciplines can be on students’ performance in Shanghai, China where it was found that secondary students in Shanghai led the world in terms of strong performance in core disciplines. While these types of results point out how effective China’s education system is at producing competent students it is also clear that the system in China deemphasizes creativity and problem solving as well. The lesson is that the US’ public education system is not all that bad with respect to producing competent scholars but that there is a need to improve core skills performance in the US’ public education system graduates.

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