The article tries to associate test scores and attainment levels with the 'US being a titan of innovation' despite them. To innovate you need incentives, funding and a set of highly talented individuals. And I mean innovation in the real sense (and not like bounce-back lists on your phone). Doing poorly in attainment levels implies that we are not doing too well creating that talent pool. When you have cash and you can provide incentives to people to do that work you just get a bunch of immigrants to do that work for you. In countries like China and India education is easy to get for those in the middle class or above. For peanuts in fees they can get the best education the country can provide that people in America can't because their government pays for it. This is something someone in the US can't pull off without exhausting a good amount of her parents savings or taking on a sizable loan. Oh yeah: before you say thats socialism and its 'bad' consider: these countries look at it as an investment (much like a businesses put into training programs for their employees) though its too bad that some of these will leave the country (or business in the analogy) for greener pastures. America has always had the policy of attracting and retaining the best in the world. Its just that having poorer attainment levels in the US undermines the workforce in the country and slowly substitutes it for another. A consequence of this is that the policy effectively translates to saving money in educating this generation because its cheaper to skim off the cream from other countries. I think this article does a great disservice by pretending that the attainment levels are irrelevant by looking at the results in innovation and ignoring underlying issues.