LJUBLJANA, SLOVENIA—Responding today to his nation’s ranking in a new international study measuring student performance, 14-year-old Izotk Rogelj told reporters he was more than a little surprised that even he and his classmates, all eighth-grade students from Slovenia, had outperformed their American counterparts on science achievement exams. “I mean, I know they’re in desperate need of education reform over there, but those guys ranked four spots below a country where the average income is half what it is in the United States,” said the flabbergasted pupil, noting that Slovenia’s national education budget of $2.8 billion in funding for every single basic primary, secondary, and tertiary institution was enough to buy “maybe three microscopes.” “I understand the global recession has taken a toll on American education as much as anywhere else, but I live in an Eastern European nation that barely existed 20 years ago. And yet we manage to beat a nation with the highest GDP in the world? Pretty weird, right?” Rogelj said that despite America’s shortcomings in education, he was hoping to go there for college one day.