Every Saturday in the New York Times, the online editorial page has a column by Charles Blow, who is able to make all kinds of information clear and succinct through his charts and graphs. Today’s is a heartbreaker, showing clearly that we are letting our kids down big time.
There are 24 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, all of them Western first world countries (China and India are not even part of the group). We are totally at the bottom in almost every category of providing for our children – in no case are we better than 13th – and that’s in math literacy, where we used to lead the pack not so long ago.
We’re in the same section of the graph as Italy and Greece, small countries without our resources. Health, education, living space, physical activity, science literacy – we are not getting much right. The only country lower than the US is Slovakia, another small country (5 million) with few resources. I’ve been there, and I’d call it second world – stairs and not elevators or escalators, lots of Soviet era factory-style housing. Wonderful folk, but without our advantages.
The leaders are Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Switzerland. Dead broke Ireland is 6th. France and Germany are 11th and 12th, Britain is 16th. And we are 23rd.
And remember – we are not just shortchanging our children. We are short changing ourselves, our own futures, and those of our grandkids.