Explaining away the performance gap between American public school students and the rest of the world is almost its own industry. Regardless of the measure, the taxpayer propped up education establishment has more excuses than your average high school kid coming in after curfew. Unfortunately for the defenders of the status quo, the data continues to expose the truth. Most American children are being left behind.

In a fascinating article in December's The Atlantic, several economists compared American students by state with students from other countries, side by side. The results make one want to send the teachers unions to the principal's office (except they're in on it, too).

According to the study, when it comes to comparing student proficiency in math, the only colony to even be able to sniff the Top 10 is Massachusetts, coming in at number 17. Virginia is farther down the list, sandwiched between those academic powerhouses Norway and Ireland.

But that's ok, because according to polling done last year at this time, a majority of Virginians "feel" that Virginia's public schools are doing a good or excellent job. Which they are. Compared to say, Lithuania. Or Iowa.

It is likely that this study, too, will be dismissed by the nation's education class. After all, one of the authors of the study, using science, has concluded that "more money does not tend to lead to better results; small class sizes do not tend to improve learning."

Next thing you know he'll start telling us that parents know better about how and where their kids should be educated.

In the meantime, there will no doubt be continued demands for more money to be poured into education system so we can "keep up with the rest of the world" and "compete in the global economy."

And get reelected.