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Updated: 08/31/2014 08:00:01AM

A question of time

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For decades, Americans led the world in standard of living. Our democracy provided opportunity for hardworking innovators. It helps that we are a big country, rich in natural resources, with an unmatched transportation network. We led the world in providing an education for all our citizens. Now we are about 25th in student achievement scores. We are behind the leaders in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. Their high school students rank well ahead of us, as do those from Estonia, Finland, Poland, Belgium and Canada. Our bragging rights are that we rank ahead of Greece and Turkey.

Not only does our nation lag the current education leaders, but our state ranks below about half the 50 states of the union. It gets worse. A decade ago, Charlotte County scored among the top counties in the state with an A rating. In the last two years it slipped from B to C, while DeSoto gets a D. Sarasota, on the other hand, earned an A for the last three years, and many before that.

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