Well sure, there are bright well educated American kids, but not many of them come out of our public schools because the curriculum of public schools has been dumbed down so much over the years that high school kids graduate with a grade school education. I saw this when my kids were in school- their texts were two years behind mine at comparable grade levels. They hardly ever had homework to do. And they spend much of their time at school watching "educational" movies over the school's TV system. Oh if only I had school so easy! Proof that education has deteriorated is that standardized achievement tests have had to be "adjusted" numerous times since the 1960s because "C" performance is now considered "A" performance. Many school don't give failing grades at all because "that would hurt the student's self-esteem". There was a story in the news just recently about how many school no longer even teach handwriting! Can you imagine that? And they call this an education?
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As to American quality, over and over, from customers to mechanics all I heard during the '70s & '80s was that American cars were junk. Consumers Reports consistently rated foreign cars better and millions of people who could have bought American if they wanted- turned to foreign cars during this time. American cars have improved in recent years, largely due to the automation of plants where robots now do much of the work, but foreign cars still outsell them.