The U.S. hasn’t displayed the focus and self-control needed to excel in a classroom setting, leading officials to question whether the country should try a different path.

WASHINGTON—After years of watching it struggle to perform academically in nearly every area of study, U.S. education officials told reporters Wednesday they have begun to think maybe school just isn’t the nation’s thing.

Top government administrators, who confirmed they had gone to great lengths in recent years to ensure the United States received extra attention in subjects such as math, science, and the language arts, said they have come to believe that, at the end of the day, perhaps the country simply does not excel in a classroom setting.

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“When it comes down to it, school isn’t for everyone,” said Education Secretary John King Jr., who applauded the nation for its efforts but conceded it was time to try something different. “The American people have put their heads down and given it their best shot, but something’s just not clicking. While we’ve offered lots of encouragement and plenty of hands-on learning experiences, we’ve seen very little in the way of scholastic achievement. We need to accept that maybe the United States just isn’t cut out for this.”

“Just because our population doesn’t thrive academically doesn’t mean it can’t go on to have a significant impact on the world.”

“Every country learns in its own way,” he continued. “And that’s okay.”

Officials said they have experimented with an array of different teaching styles, but found the nation remained distracted even during one-on-one tutoring sessions, and had almost nothing of relevance to say during open classroom discussions. In addition, an effort to reach Americans by steering them toward specific areas that might interest them was reportedly abandoned as soon as their general lack of curiosity about any academic subject became apparent.

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Despite high hopes for such initiatives, administrators said that costly programs to introduce laptops and tablet computers into schools have only made the U.S. populace frustrated that, even with the assistance of technology, it is still unable to grasp basic concepts or solve straightforward problems.

According to the government, after a last-ditch measure to prescribe attention-deficit medications failed to appreciably improve results, it was finally forced to come to terms with the idea that school just isn’t a good fit for the nation’s temperament.

“Some countries require a different approach that’s more appropriate for their needs and skill set,” said King, stressing that the government’s narrow focus on measuring the country’s success in the classroom had only served to make it feel pessimistic and self-conscious about its meager test scores. “Just because our population doesn’t thrive academically doesn’t mean it can’t go on to have a significant impact on the world.”

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“We’ve given traditional schooling a shot, and it simply hasn’t worked out,” he added. “Now, we just need to find a track that better suits the U.S.”

King went on to state that it’s not fair to compare the United States directly to other countries, which may benefit from a more stable background and have wider access to important resources. Such comparisons can be discouraging, he remarked, leading the American public to ask why it should try at all when it knows it will never achieve the kind of academic success enjoyed by South Korea, Finland, or Japan.

“There are other things America can do instead,” King said. “For example, vocational training can be every bit as useful as higher education. That’s one option.”

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He added: “And of course, there’s always the military. They definitely seem open to that.”