"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." This cult of ignorance is the most serious national security issue facing the U.S. today.
As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as a world leader. Yet the new Social Progress Index, a comprehensive framework measuring numerous important social outcomes, paints a very different picture - the U.S. ranks only 16th of 132 countries measured, behind other large countries such as Germany, the UK, Japan and Canada. On Health and Wellness, for example, we spend more on health care than any country in the world but in terms of the outcomes achieved--such as obesity and life expectancy--we are number 70 in the world, way below our advanced economy peers.
We're a nation that's coming to respect statistics. Billy Bean convinced us that better statistics could beat bigger payrolls in sports. Nate Silver helped humble Karl Rove's money machine with better statistics. Maybe it's time to take a more careful look at the international test statistics judging how good our nation's schools are.