This excellent post on how perhaps US schools aren’t so bad after all comes from The Daily Howler by Bob Somerby. He does a great service by putting together the points I was trying to make when I showed graphs and figures from the TIMMS report showing how well the US did. His summary is much better put-together than mine. Good job, Bob!
FOOLED ABOUT SCHOOLS: Fools for Finland!
In reading, American students outscored the vast bulk of the world! Unless you read major American papers, where this success was largely obscured.
In math, American students did somewhat less well—and without any question, a fairly small group of Asian nations tend to outscore the world by significant margins in math. That said, here’s a surprise:
In fourth-grade and eighth-grade math, American scores were “not measurably different” from the scores of students in Finland.
We mention Finland for an obvious reason. In the past decade, this small, middle-class, unicultural nation has been all the rage in America’s low-scoring press corps. Its strong performance on international tests has been a constant source of commentary from journalists who don’t have the slightest idea what they’re talking about.
That’s why you might think it would count as news when the U.S. came close to matching Finland on last year’s international tests. Indeed, Finland was walloped by some U.S. states—states which took part in last year’s testing as independent “education systems.”