THE UNITED STATES' LEANING TOWER OF PISA: Alarm bells started going off this morning as results from the 2012 PISA scores came out. While Asian countries like Korea and China topped the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) charts, US scores either stagnated or fell from the 2009 levels. That puts American students in the middle of the 65 participating countries. While the US ranked 24th in reading (down one rank from 2009), it fell six positions to 36th in math, and nine ranks to 28th in science. When compared to the 33 other industrialized countries who are members of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), the middle-of-the-road ranking remains.
Upon revealing the data early this morning, US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan called the United States' results a "picture of educational stagnation."
Everyone is weighing in. Researcher and education pundit Diane Ravitch responded to the "lagging" and "stagnation" remarks with the reminder that "The U.S. has NEVER been first in the world, nor even near the top, on international tests." She also noted: "Let others have the higher test scores. I prefer to bet on the creative, can-do spirit of the American people."
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten took careful note of the scores in a press release, stating that the PISA results are evidence that America's "top-down, test-based schooling" has "failed to improve the quality of American public education."
We're wading through the 52-page "first look" of the PISA report today and will report what else we find. Let us know if you have questions or comments!