'Stupid in America'

ByABC News
January 10, 2006, 3:31 PM

Jan. 9, 2006 — -- American students fizzle in international comparisons, placing 18th in reading, 22nd in science and 28th in math -- behind countries like Poland, Australia and Korea. But why? Are American kids less intelligent? John Stossel looks at the ways the U.S. public education system cheats students out of a quality education in "Stupid in America: How We Cheat Our Kids," airing this Friday at 10 p.m.

"We're not stupid. ... But we could do better," one high school student tells Stossel. Another says, "I think it has to be something with the school, 'cause I don't think we're stupider."

That's the question Stossel examines in his special report: What is it that's going wrong in public schools?

There are many factors that contribute to failure in school. A major factor, Stossel finds, is the government's monopoly over the school system. Parents don't get to choose where to send their children. In other countries, choice brings competition, and competition improves performance.

Stossel questions government officials, union leaders, parents and students and learns some surprising things about what's happening in U.S. schools. He also examines how the educational system can be improved upon and reports on innovative programs across the country.

"Stupid In America: How We Cheat Our Kids" with John Stossel airs Jan. 13, at 10 p.m.