Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shanghai Students Top World Rankings on Math Test; U.S. Teans Ranked 25th

25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading shows that the U.S. is falling behind the rest of the world in educating its young. The article cites some of the problem is caused by our lenient immigration policies, where most of the countries ahead of the U.S. have a more homogeneous population.

The one item I noticed was the recommendation for more local autonomy in selecting the curriculum. Perhaps getting rid of teachers unions and the Department of Education, along with enforcement of our immigration laws would go a long way in solving this problem.

Fifteen-year-olds in the U.S. ranked 25th among peers from 34 countries on a math test and scored in the middle in science and reading, while China’s Shanghai topped the charts, raising concern that the U.S. isn’t prepared to succeed in the global economy.

The Paris-based Organization of Economic Cooperation & Development, which represents 34 countries, today released the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment. For the first time, the test broke out the performance of China’s Shanghai region, which topped every country in all academic categories. The U.S. government considers the test one of the most comprehensive measures of international achievement.

The results show that U.S. students must improve to compete in a global economy, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said yesterday in a telephone interview. President Barack Obama’s administration is promoting national curriculum standards and a revamping of teacher pay that stresses performance rather than credentials and seniority.

“The brutal fact here is there are many countries that are far ahead of us and improving more rapidly than we are,” Duncan said. “This should be a massive wake-up call to the entire country.”

The success of top-scoring education systems holds lessons for U.S. policy, according to the report. Successful countries provide comparable opportunities to all students regardless of wealth, offer autonomy to individual schools in terms of curriculum and prioritize teacher pay over smaller classes, according to the report.

Read full Bloomberg News article here.

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