Economists have found that the higher a country's academic test scores, the faster its GDP grows. That puts the United States' perennially mediocre test scores in a particularly ominous light. Progress is being made, says Childress, of the Gates Foundation, but at the rate even the most engaged school systems are improving, it will take 80 years to catch up to where China is now. New approaches, including personalized technology, online videos, and innovations that combine software with classroom programs, could be the breakthrough tools American students need to improve dramatically faster.
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