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IPFS News Link • Education: Government Schools

"American Students Are Falling Behind": Poor Math Scores Are Now A National Security Threa

•, by John Mac Ghlionn

In comparison to their counterparts in other industrialized nations, American students are falling behind. The rather sobering results revealed a 13-point decline for U.S. students when compared to the 2018 exam.

In stark contrast, 28 countries and economies managed to either maintain or improve their 2018 math scores, with countries such as Switzerland and Japan leading the way—and leaving the United States in the dust. These considerably more successful nations share a number of common characteristics, including, most notably of all, shorter school closures during the pandemic, as noted in the report.

Obviously concerned by the findings, the Defense Department has called for a new initiative to provide support for education in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). As The Hechinger Report reported, China, the United States' biggest rival, has eight times the number of college graduates in these disciplines compared to the United States, while Russia, another major foe, has four times the number of engineers. This alarming disparity, noted the Hechinger Report piece, has prompted concerns beyond the realm of education. The United States' mathematical failings pose a direct threat to its technological supremacy.

Other commentators have gone a step further. Falling math scores, they suggest, should be viewed as a national security threat. They're right.

Mathematics plays a critical role in various fields such as the physical sciences, technology, business, financial services, and infrastructure. For instance, geometry, algebra, and trigonometry are fundamental parts of architectural design. Moreover, math plays a significant role in medicine, AI, and quantum computing. Math serves as the foundation for virtually all scientific and industrial research and development. Essentially, mathematics can be seen as the underlying operating system that makes the world go round.

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