It's that time of year again. Time for children to go back to school and for the complaints about American education to begin with that all important question: Why can't a 1930 Chevrolet pickup truck beat the newest Porsche?
While no one ever ask the question that way, it is actually a more accurate question than: Why don't American students always get the highest scores on international test?
The United States educational system was designed in the 1920's and codified in the early 30's with little change since. Meanwhile counties like Germany, Japan, and China have revamped their systems by lengthening the school year, reducing class size, increasing teacher salaries, and that dreaded T word, tracking students by ability.
Looking at all the variables, the question should be: Why do American schools do so well? In spite of what is often said, American students score in the top ten on virtually every international test. This is like that 1930 pickup coming in 5th at the Indianapolis 500.
So maybe the time as come to stop criticizing and start bragging. After all, we must have some damn good mechanics keeping that truck in the race.