Sheldon Glaschow is a physicist, a colleague of Stephen Weinberger (and a classmate as well), who with Abdus Salam shared the Nobel Prize for unifying the weak force and the electromagnetic force.
In his book "Interactions" Glaschow makes the following observations:
"In the past, America was number one because of its hardworking citizens, its natural resources and its freedom of opportunity. For the future, without our resources largely spent, mere brawn will not suffice, and those who are scientifically illiterate are enslave by their own ignorance. American education has got to get on the ball. A recent government sponsored international survey of top high school seniors worldwide has found American students to be poorly educated in mathematics. Ours are by far the weakest students of the twelve nations surveyed. Can we afford to continue producing an infinite number of lawyers, advertisers and other ignoramuses? Watch out, lest they draw and quarter you as they've done to AT&T and convince you that you like it, too. Worry a little bit that the people you entrust to make up the nation's budget probably flunked high school math, and those who built the ill-fated space shuttle Challenger didn't know or care what happens to rubber in cold weather..."
"Interactions" is a very witty book and you might find it worthwhile to read.