With the economy taking center stage in national discourse in the last several years, education has been cast out of the spotlight as one of our most pressing problems. But many believe that our economic woes have no chance of getting better unless our educational system is in tip-top shape. It is extremely disheartening, then, to discover that our primary and secondary school systems are some of the least effective in the industrialized world. We rank lower than dozens of countries in science and math proficiency, causing economic experts to argue that we'll have no chance for competitiveness in the future world economy that will be so heavily dictated by those fields. Further, though our teachers are some of the hardest and longest working, they're some of the worst paid- a devastating contradiction in which everyone loses. It's a system that is utterly backwards- and unless we do something to fix it, our country will be in desperate trouble.