One of the biggest jokes on the planet. Whatever the truth once was, how can you read stories like this and not feel the fetid breath of history (as in "He's history!" blowing down the nape of your neck.
Last month, the results of the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA, tests were announced. It was the first time that Chinese students had participated, and children from Shanghai ranked first in every single area. Students from the United States, meanwhile, came in seventeenth in reading, twenty-third in science, and an especially demoralizing thirty-first in math. This last ranking put American kids not just behind the Chinese, the Koreans, and the Singaporeans but also after the French, the Austrians, the Hungarians, the Slovenians, the Estonians, and the Poles.
I'm sure we're ahead of somebody.
there is, of course, a slight trick to these results. Reassured?