OECD: U.S. Schools Mediocre on Education Compared to World

By:  Thomas R. Eddlem
OECD: U.S. Schools Mediocre on Education Compared to World

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development rates U.S. high school students mediocre compared to the world.

American high-school students scored average in a standardized test created by the Organization for Cooperation and Development, when compared with the rest of the developed world. American students scored below average in math (26th among 34 OECD countries), and average in reading (17th) and science (21st). The OECD's Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tested 500,000 students from 65 countries overall, using examples where academic skills would be applied to real world situations, such as taking meaning from charts and trip calculations.

The OECD noted of its 2012 PISA that many nations had improved their academic performances in recent years, but U.S. students had failed to make any measurable progress over the past decade: “There has been no significant change [in the United States] in these performances over time.” Indeed, the OECD found that simply throwing money at the problem — something Washington has done in recent decades, beginning with massive increases in educational spending during the George W. Bush administration — doesn't work: 

While the U.S. spends more per student than most countries, this does not translate into better performance. For example, the Slovak Republic, which spends around USD 53 000 per student, performs at the same level as the United States, which spends over USD 115 000 per student.

This, of course, was not the lesson learned from the 2012 results of the OECD test by America's largest teacher's union. National Education Association (NEA) President Dennis Van Roekel said in a press release that the solution was — you guessed it — more taxpayer money: “What else do the high-performing nations do differently? They invest in early childhood education. They fully fund all of their schools. They make the teaching profession attractive and they support their teachers. They value the collaboration between parents, educators, administrators, communities and elected officials.”

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