Obama Education Secretary: US education system is 'top 10 in nothing'

Former Education Secretary Arne DuncanArne Starkey DuncanStripping opportunity from DC's children Catherine Lhamon will make our schools better, fairer, and more just Providing the transparency parents deserve MORE on Thursday lamented the state of the U.S. education system, saying it is “top 10 in nothing.” 

“The brutal truth is that, whether you look at early childhood education access to [education], whether you look at math and science scores K-12, whether you look at college completion rates, we’re top 10 in nothing,” Duncan said on Yahoo Finance's Midday Movers.

“And that’s not good enough.”

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Duncan was one of the nation's longest-serving Education secretaries, serving from 2009-2015.

He has been a frequent critic of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE's Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosBiden Education Department hires vocal proponent of canceling student debt Erik Prince involved in push for experimental COVID-19 vaccine: report Biden administration reverses Trump-era policy that hampered probes of student loan companies MORE.

On the Yahoo show, he said he believes the country's school system runs on “lies.” 

“I'll start with the fact that we all say we care about education, we value education, but the truth is, almost none of us vote around who's going to increase educational opportunity,” he said. 

"Second, we say we care about teachers and how important they are," he continued. "We don't pay them as true professionals, we don't train them as true professionals." 

"And I honestly don't think we value our children enough," he concluded. "In other nations, kids just don't die the way they do here in America, across our society." 

Duncan is on a media tour promoting his new book "How Schools Work." 

A 2017 Pew Research Center survey found U.S. students lag behind their peers in other developed nations in terms of math, reading and science. Using the most recent results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a cross-national test that assesses skills among global 15-year-olds, the U.S. ranked 38 out of the 71 countries in math and 24th in science, Pew found.