We’ve heard for years that Americans don’t have the same skills that people from other countries do. Unfortunately, now there are numbers that back that up.

According to the Department of Education, Americans are below international averages when it comes to problem solving, math and reading. Harvard's Paul Peterson told KTRH it's a reality check.

“This is the first time that we’ve known that this is true for the labor force. It appears there is no catch up after all. We just have a lower quality labor force than we used to have,” Peterson explained.

And Peterson believes a big reason for that is our schools haven’t done a great job in preparing kids for the real world.

“We have to have clear expectations for our high school students. They have to have exams in real courses. We have to make them understand what material they have to learn,” Peterson said.

Clay Robison of the Texas State Teachers Association also thinks the problem is standardized tests.

“The last 20 years is the testing generation. Teachers have to take a lot of time out of their instruction to teach kids basically how to take a test,” Robison said.

And Robison says because of that our kids don’t learn the skills they need when they get done with their education.

“What got left behind in many respects was being able to teach the kids how to critically think. This has been a problem throughout the United States, not just in Texas,” Robison stated.

If you're looking for good news, there are a couple of things you can hang your hat on. In literacy, we rank ahead of Poland, France, Spain, Italy and Ireland. In math, we were ahead of only Italy and Spain. And adults 55 to 65 years old are performing well. The problem is with workers between the ages of 16 and 55.