It has been argued that the overall past success of the U.S. economy suggests that high-school math performance is not that critical for sustained growth in economic productivity. After all, U.S. students trailed their peers in the very first international survey undertaken nearly 50 years ago. That is the wrong message to take away however. Other factors contributed to the relatively high rate of growth in economic productivity during the last half of the 20th century, including the openness of the country’s markets, respect for property rights, low levels of political corruption, and limited intrusion of government into the operations of the marketplace. The United States, moreover, has always benefited from the in-migration of talent from abroad.