US Students Lag

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 4:10pm

U.S. students are no longer at the head of the class academically in world education rankings.

Some stunning numbers were released today, part of an international survey on education. That shows U.S. students are lagging behind classmates in other industrialized nations. A major setback for education in America and many say a desperate call for change.

The latest international report card, released today, shows U.S. students simply aren't making the grade.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says “the hard truth is that other high performing nations have passed us by during the past two decades.”

Every three years, the International Student Assessment Report compares the knowledge and problem solving skills of 15-year-olds around the world.

Angel Gurria, the Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development said “where does the US stand? average performer in reading, 14 out of 34 members of the OECD, in science in the middle, 17 out of 34, and U.S. drops below oecd in math 25 of 34.”

Disturbing marks.

Andreas Schleicher of the OECD says “for a nation that used to be at the top of the education links historically I think coming out as average can't be satisfying.”

Especially in the wake of a decade of federal and local attempts at education reform.

Secretary Duncan says "American students are effectively losing ground."

Losing ground to the Chinese province of Shanghi which ranked first in all three categories and countries like South Korea, Finland, and Singapore, all scoring well above the United States in the latest round of tests.

Michelle Rhee wit studentsfirst.org says "this is a matter of national prosperity and national security.”

Michelle Rhee, the former lead administrator in the Washington DC school district, is now the head of a grassroots effort called "Students First."

Michelle Rhee says "we need to take a tough stand against ineffective teachers and that on the flip side of that I think it is important to recognize and reward our highest performing teachers."

A starting point, many hope, to raising performance in U.S. classrooms.

The U.S. finished in the middle of the pack despite spending more on education than almost every other country that took part in the testing.

 

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