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American Opinion -On education's needs:

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An excerpt from recent editorials in newspapers in the United States:

From The Associated Press

On education's needs:

Attention for troubling news is hard to summon, much less incorporate into daily life, when life is comfy.

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That's been much of our history in the postwar boom decades. Mounting prosperity, greater longevity, a standard of living unmatched anywhere -- all can mask deficiency or weakness. ...

But what other than a blush-cheeked, sittin'-pretty, I'm-busy-texting self-satisfaction can account for America's denial about its education failure? It took President Barack Obama, speaking recently in North Carolina, to say the superior academic performance of 5,100 Chinese 15-year-olds on standardized tests in 2009 represents a "Sputnik moment" for America. ...

Sputnik thus started the space race, and a panicked America caught up and won by investing heavily in science, mathematics and engineering education. This was true not only in military and university settings but also in public elementary and high school education. The country marshaled and sustained its attention on the need to find edge and to lead. ...

And now Sputnik's back because Shanghai youth gave us a shellacking. ...

This time needs to be different. And we have China to thank for it: to preview what it's like to have your lunch eaten, to provoke an American president into recalling events of more than 50 years ago. All so we don't end up in a world in which jobs, innovation and flourishing economies are elsewhere. ...

We must move beyond moments of hand-wringing and instead bring sustained, full attention to our academic performance as central to our fortunes, as key to our continued way of life. ...

-- The Oregonian, Portland

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