Dr. Jennifer Jordan, left, and Dr. Darryl Jordan

By Ashley Benkarski

NASHVILLE, TN —  “You can be whatever you prepare to be.”

That’s the advice that Dr. Jennifer Jordan and husband Dr. Darryl Jordan advocate, putting a slightly more realistic spin on the comforting and popular saying heard by many children.

Yet America’s students are falling farther behind the rest of the world in reading, science and math–a trend that’s continuing to drop, said Dr. Jennifer Jordan, author of The Perfect Student: Lessons Learned from High School to College!

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s triannual data on the cross-national Programme for International Student Assessment scores show that the country is “an unimpressive 38th out of 71 countries in math and 24th in science” with even more dismal scores when compared to other OECD member countries; America placed 30th in math and 19th in science among the other 35 members.

While the PISA test is geared toward 15-year-olds, other international tests geared toward younger students show a lag in the three subjects as well. 

The drop in such scores should be alarming considering recent concerns that America is losing its status as the world’s foremost superpower, Jordan cautioned, adding that most students don’t know they are competing with other countries in their education of the subjects that are critical to innovation.

Without that motivational knowledge, Jordan said, America’s continued prosperity is anyone’s guess. The sinking scores translate to a loss of degrees in science, math, engineering and technology, with many students who aspire to professions in these fields switching majors in higher education.

This information brings with it many questions concerning issues like student confidence and the structure of our educational environment.

One major solution lies with parents and guardians, she said.

Jordan has many professional titles including medical doctor and educator, but her experience as a full-time stay-at-home mother of four has provided the perspective for student success that led her to share the lessons she learned, the most important being discipline.

When it comes to “the perfect student” the authors clarified that maturity, not straight A’s, is the core characteristic.

To that end the book is filled with tips and encouragement for students and parents alike, from simple tips such as making time to study for one hour every day and reading books during school vacations to recipes for protein-loaded breakfast meals. The book takes a well-rounded approach to the complex topic of academic improvement, including coping mechanisms for school-related stress and information on HBCUs around the country so that students considering college can make more informed decisions on where to attend.

The Perfect Student is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Student-Lessons-Learned-College/dp/1628801697 and at Barnes and Noble.