How good are American schools?

Math problem faced by our 7-year old in school:

Kate has $0.38 and John had $0.39.  They each gave Madison $0.15.  How much money did all three children have together?

There are adults I know who wouldn't know how to solve that problem.

You hear a lot of bad news about American schools and American education, but most parents are happy with their schools.  Inner-city and rural schools are failing, but most Americans live in the suburbs.  What they see is a functional school system with pretty good standards.

Whether the quality of schools should be dependent on the poshness of the neighborhood is something else entirely, of course.

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