So how come it is that the Japanese kids are so motivated?
Not that I'd want my own kids to be as driven and regimented as I perceive the children of that island nation to be. However not so long ago I recall having read of the results of a study concerning the educational attainments of immigrants, their children, and their children's children.
What is showed was that first generation immigrant children, as a group, did much better than "Americans" (if you know what I mean). But that, with each succeeding generation, the educational performance of their offspring declined; apparently tied to the process of becoming "assimilated" into our culture.
If that study reflects reality, and intuition tells me that it does, then perhaps the problem does lie with our society, as a whole. Does it stink? I don't know. A whole lot of people seem to want to come here. However, whatever it is about that society which seems to kill the motivation and love of learning of later generations of immigrants should probably be analyzed and discussed.
While some may find Gingrich's approach refreshing in that he talks about revitalizing America, I question whether the areas he focuses upon are the real nub of the problem. However, maybe the political debate in this country could find a productive focal point in the type of issues raised in this discussion.
By the way, not everything stinks, just some things are a little bit no good and rotten. Put more elegantly, our culture is not fertile ground for the development, on a broad basis, of intellectual and educational development. I wonder if other societies put such disdain upon "eggheads" as do we.