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America’s education policy needs fixing

Published 11:00pm Wednesday, December 4, 2013

On Tuesday, the OECD released the results of its triennial Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test.

The test, which measures student proficiency in reading, math and science, was administered to students between the ages of 15-16 in the nations with the top 65 economies in the world.

America’s ranking in all three subjects was discouraging. The United States ranked twenty-sixth in mathematics, twenty-first in science and seventeenth in reading. America scored below average in mathematics and at the average in science and reading.

East Asian countries, such as South Korea, Japan, Taipei and Singapore, dominated the rankings, with the city of Shanghai holding down the top spot in the world rankings.

What is most disturbing, however, is that America’s education rankings have remain stagnant since the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in 2001.

The United States scored 0.3 percent higher in mathematics, 0.3 percent lower in reading and 1.4 percent higher in science.

And, according to the PISA report, throwing more money at the situation is not necessarily the answer. The OECD estimates that the United States spends approximately $115,000 per student. On the PISA test, the United States scored comparably to Slovakia, which only spends $53,000 per student.

Clearly, we have been doing something wrong these past few years.

While NCLB’s implementation was noble in its intent, it has failed to produce quality students across the United States.

The PISA report suggests that the implementation of the Common Core curriculum would help to raise the country’s scores in mathematics.

Whether the Common Core curriculum is the answer to the nation’s education woes, we do not know. We do hope, however, that some change will be made to the nation’s education system so that American students can be given the best chance to participate in and succeed in the global economy.

  • Observer

    Comparing American students to those in Europe and Asia is an apples and oranges situation. Only America insists on forcing every child to attend school for 12-years (now trying to make it 13,14 or 15 with the expansion of school to include K, pre-K and play school).
    We insist not on equal opportunity but statistically equal results with the racist U.S. Attorney General poised to attack any institution for discrimination based on “disparate” results.
    NCLB only made a bad situation worse by placing so much emphasis on the incapable and unwilling. We squander time and resources on children who cannot learn at the expense of those who can. This educational policy could be likened to entering a stock Chevrolet Vega in the Indianapolis 500 and saying the pit crew failed if the car did not win, place or show.
    If the numbers crunching people would compare the top 1,000 American students to the top 1,000 in other nations – that would be apples to apples.

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