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Although the United States boasts an impressive higher education system, the nation seems to fall far behind many other nations when comparing its K-12 program with other nations’ youth education systems. In the 2012 Program for the International Student Assessment, an international test which compares nations’ students of fifteen and sixteen years of age, the United States ranked twenty-sixth in math, twenty-first in science, and seventeenth in reading (Elliott et al. 1). Although many place the blame on poverty, affluent US students in the 2006 PISA would only have placed twenty-third in math and seventeenth in science compared to other students of similar status, and Vietnam, a relatively impoverished nation, consistently performs better than the US (“Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education” 24). The sources of the gap between the US and other nations are the teachers and teaching methods. In high-achieving nations, teachers are more rigorously trained, and these thoroughly-trained teachers collaborate together to teach students as a full class as opposed to separating students based on achievement. In addition, while these nations teach fewer topics at once, they teach subjects longer and more in-depth. Because high-achieving nations have better-qualified teachers who teach students as a group a more focused curriculum, these nations’ teenage students perform better than the United State’s teenage students.
One of the most important differences between the USA and high-performing nations is how respected and well-trained teachers are. In high performing nations, teachings careers are given more respect than in the US; on average, the US pays teachers about seventy-two percent of the average of all college gradu...

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...e foreign powers such as China are becoming more and more relevant in today’s world, and the United States needs its younger generation to become well-educated to represent and lead their country. The solution to this issue comes from borrowing what works for other nations. While the US is a diverse nation, the top-performing countries are a combination of European and Asian countries, so by looking at the consistent similarities between these high-achieving nations, the US could possibly find a good direction for reform. Other countries such as Germany and Finland have successfully reformed their education systems before (Hancock 4); if the United States can begin to train teachers more rigorously and slowly begin to develop a more in-depth curriculum and internationally-utilized teaching methods, American students can start to receive a more world-class education.
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