The message apparently is not getting through. Test after test shows that American schoolchildren learn much less math than do their counterparts in other industrial nations.

However, according to a recent survey, most of the kids in this country think they are doing just fine, thank you.If students in the United States don't even know they are lagging, they can't be expected to catch up. And the U.S. cannot expect to have the kind of work force it will need in an era of increasingly complex technology.

The implications for America's economic future are very worrisome.

Part of the problem, we suspect, is that many parents in the U.S., and some teachers as well, don't realize that children need to be challenged much more than they are.

Kids have a way of living up to, or down to, expectations.