America’s education policy needs fixing

Published 11:00 pm 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.

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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.