WASHINGTON—In the face of a recent report from Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) noting that American adults have fallen below international averages on math, reading comprehension, and problem-solving, the Department of Education announced today that America was still the world’s pre-eminent leader in athletics, and that “only nerds read international education reports, anyway.”
“Reading is for losers,” a statement from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan read. “America is going to keep doing what it does best: sports. Sure, maybe Japan, Australia, and South Korea outperform us on workplace skills, but how many Pro-Bowlers do they have between them? I’ll let that speak for itself.”
“I think the test was very biased against Americans,” said Justin Miller, a middle school teacher from Alexandria, Virginia. “Did they test for knowledge of NASCAR standings? Was there even a single question addressing whether LeBron is better than Kobe? Probably not.”
Although an estimated 1 in 5 American adults are functionally illiterate, American schools routinely spend more money on sports programs than math programs, which Secretary Duncan described as “[E]vidence of Americans understanding correct priorities.”
“If America’s so dumb, how’d we come up with the West Coast Offense? How come we have people who can calculate all those baseball statistics, if we’re so bad at math? Riddle me that,” Duncan rhetorically demanded.
“Some pessimists might be wondering ‘How can we tackle problems like the government deficit if American students rank 17th in science and 25th in math?’ I think we should all stop and remember that the United States has won 976 gold medals in the Olympics. I bet we could wipe out the deficit just with that. Heck, that’s not even counting all the bronze and silver medals too,” Duncan’s statement noted.
“So maybe only 35 percent of the nation’s eighth graders performed at grade level or above in math. What percentage of French eighth graders perform at grade level in hockey?” asked junior hockey instructor Robert Bradshaw of Newton, Massachusetts. “And yeah, I know they have a few players in the NBA, but I’ll bet the basketball comprehension level of your typical European is subpar. They don’t know sports and we don’t know basic algebra. Call it a wash.”
“Maybe school matters in faraway places like China or Mexico. I’ll take a son who knows the top three picks in last year’s NFL draft over one who knows Newton’s three branches of government any day.”