There’s more dismal news for America’s schools as international benchmarks show the U.S. lagging behind its global counterparts. According to the New York Times article below, “a greater proportion of students in more and more countries graduate from high school and college and score higher on achievement tests than students in the United States.” In yesterday’s address to a panel of U.S. policy lawmakers who plan to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – the main law governing federal policy on public schools – Andreas Schleicher, a senior education official at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD, and one of the foremost experts on comparing national school systems in the world’s 30 richest countries, presented these facts to the Senate education committee:
• Canada’s 15-year-old students are, on average, more than one school year ahead of American 15-year-olds
• Finland has the world’s “best performing education system,” partly because of its highly effective way of recruiting, training and supporting teachers.
• Only New Zealand, Spain, Turkey and Mexico now have lower high school completion rates than the U.S (about 7 in 10 American high school students earn a diploma).
• South Korea has achieved a 96 percent high school graduation rate, the world’s highest.
• Poland, Mr. Schleicher said, is improving its education system most rapidly. In less than a decade, it raised the literacy skills of its 15-year-olds by the equivalent of almost a school year. “If the U.S. would raise the performance of schools by a similar amount,” he said, “that could translate into a long-term economic value of over 40 trillion dollars.”
The committee also heard from Charles Butt, chief executive of a supermarket chain in Texas, who said employers there faced increasing difficulties in hiring qualified young workers. “The blame for America’s sagging academic achievement does not lie solely with public schools,” Mr. Butt said, but also with dysfunctional families and a culture that undervalues education. Schools are inheriting an overentertained, distracted student,” he said.
LifeBound’s comprehensive approach to helping students achieve college and career success includes programs for parents that help them value education and give them the tools to communicate this to their children. Additionally, we offer books and curriculum for Summer Academies and year-long programs in districts across the country that help students grow their critical and creative thinking skills and develop emotional and social intelligence. Until districts adopt a rigorous model of learning that challenges students to think and plan for future success, we will continue to lose ground in education and ultimately our competitive edge in the world’s marketplace.
How can districts create new standards and curriculum that help American students catch up to their global counterparts?
How can we instill a sense of what is possible into the hearts and minds of our students?
How can we transform our nation’s entertainment culture into a culture of learning?
New York Times
Many Nations Passing U.S. in Education, Expert Says
By SAM DILLON
March 9, 2010
One of the world’s foremost experts on comparing national school systems told lawmakers on Tuesday that many other countries were surpassing the United States in educational attainment, including Canada, where he said 15-year-old students were, on average, more than one school year ahead of American 15-year-olds.
America’s education advantage, unrivaled in the years after World War II, is eroding quickly as a greater proportion of students in more and more countries graduate from high school and college and score higher on achievement tests than students in the United States, said Andreas Schleicher, a senior education official at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, which helps coordinate policies for 30 of the world’s richest countries.
To view this entire article visit www.nytimes.com