Alan Greenspan Cites Math Gap

Federal Reserve chairman (and former Ayn Rand associate) Alan Greenspan warns a Senate committee about the “math gap”:

Alan Greenspan has added a new twist to the ongoing debate on jobs outsourcing. Last week, the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman told the Senate Banking Committee that the real threat to the standard of living in the United States came not from jobs leaving for cheaper Asian locations. The bigger worry, he said, was a drop in U.S. educational standards.
U.S. students ranked 19th in a 1999 study of mathematical ability among eighth-graders in 38 countries. Four years earlier, as fourth-graders, the same cohort of U.S. students had ranked seventh. Students from Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan completed the Top 5 list of 1999. China and India did not participate in the study.
“What will ultimately determine” the “standard of living of this country is the skill of the people,” Greenspan told the Senate committee. “We do something wrong, which obviously people in Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan do far better. Teaching in these strange, exotic places seems for some reason to be far better than we can do it.”

Also amusing is Andy Mukherjee’s observation that because of the education system in Singapore, Greenspan’s own career choices might not have been possible in that country.