Many envision the highlight of the next century as the competition between China and the USA. The core of the competition, all agreed, are human talents. In this regard, both are committing fatal blunders in education.
On the US side, the no-child-left-behind sounds nice in an ideal situation, but is the worst possible strategy in practice. Education funds are being wasted on a group of population who do not learn now and who will not work in the future.
On the China side, an academic Olympic mentality prevails when most money are spent on two universities, expecting them to rank with Harvard and Yale. First of all, you can't buy Nobel with money, and greediness always win over hard work. The two schools are entangling themselves with money making. Evidently, Beijing University was revealed to have made itself a regional front office of well know diploma mill Pacific Western University of Hawaii, one disbanded by the State of Hawaii many years ago. The other one, Qinghua University sell diploma to whoever pay the price, such as businessman Wu Zheng, and passing out diploma to those in power, such as Vice President of China, Xi Jinping. Secondly, for those graduated from the residential part of the two universities, many went abroad and never return. A survey of the class 2001 of Beijing University revealed that 21% of the graduates went abroad. The ratio is even higher on the science and engineering side, as high as 87% of certain disciplines. In the end, the mega-investment became scholar to reward Chinese students to go to the US.
US made the mistake for not raising up their own elite students, Fortunately, Chinese students filled the blank.