The independent news organization of Duke University

The American collegiate paradox

I've always heard people say with either anger, apathy or resignation that the American education system is ineffective, weak and underfunded. Parents, teachers, political pundits, whoever all throw in their two cents in badmouthing the good ol' US of A by saying that American education is simply not keeping up and maintaining competitiveness with other countries (read: China).

Well, okay, if so many people are say something is wrong, then there's probably something wrong. But what?  According to these guys, the problem is too many bullies. According to these guys, it's bureaucrats. This guy seems to think everything's the problem and that society will end up a "desolate wasteland."

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It's true: Kids these days play more video games than ever, and if we can't find away to pull them way from the consoles long enough for them to learn how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, we're doomed. But that's in the future right? Today's American college students are still okay, right? Wrong. At least according to this New York Times article.

Basically, the article states that although America's top universities lead the world (along with a couple of British ones) in rank, through and through American higher education is failing to put out adequate graduation numbers.  Now, one question I have is whether or not Duke is still a top university--but that can wait. What I'm wondering here is how that's even possible. How is it that in the same system there are colleges that are first rate by even international standards, and colleges that have a 30 to 40 percent graduation rate? That's like having Kwame Brown and Kobe Bryant on the same team--it just shouldn't happen. But it does. So what does this mean for America?

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The Lakers eventually got their act together and won the big one. I think America is pretty awesome, but I don't think a simple trade is going to be enough to solve this problem....


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