The U.S. Department of Education has just released it's latest ranking of international education systems (Program for International Student Assessment - "PISA") and performance of U.S. students just continues to deteriorate on both absolute and relative terms.
Perhaps it's time to have a real conversation about the complete failure of "Common Core" and the idiocy of allowing teachers' unions to hold our children hostage while hiding behind ridiculous contracts that grant tenure after 6 months and make it impossible to fire underperformers. Just a thought for the incoming Trump administration.
The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss summed up the problems nicely:
There are many reasons children aren’t learning anything during the long hours they spend in government schools. Sometimes, their teachers don’t show up to work because they’re out on the teachers union picket line demanding taxpayers pick up the tab for their plastic surgery. Other times, students are forced to sit in classes led by totally unqualified teachers who will never leave because they’re protected by tenure.
For every disgraceful teacher, though, there are tons of good ones who are doing their best. The problem often isn’t teachers’ incompetence, it’s that they’re forced to instruct kids using rubbish. Look at the Common Core State Standards, which were adopted initially by 46 states because their federal education funding depended on it. The math is backwards, confusing, and, as the National Review so suitably dubbed it, “dumb.” The reading standards fill students’ minds with filth in the form of raunchy books and with yawn-inducing “informational texts.”
Our schools no longer teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. Rather than be taught how to think and problem-solve, children are thought what to think and how to feel. All these money-making and money-spending schemes tend to sound nice, of course, but they inevitably fall flat.
Now the results....in math, the U.S. ranked 40th in the world and 31st out of the 35 developed countries that provide data to the study...somewhat less than ideal.
Meanwhile, nearly 30% of the 15-year-olds in the U.S. were found to rank in the bottom two (of 5) proficiency tiers.
Unfortunately the story isn't much better with reading and science proficiency. The U.S. ranked 24th in the world on the study's "reading literacy scale"...
...and 25th in science.
And, of course, performance has been deteriorating for the past decade.
In conclusion, this about sums it up:
Here is the full study from the U.S. Department of Education: