New results from an international test of the math, science and reading skills of 15-year-olds find that American teenagers are, well, average.

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests students every three years to determine how they compare globally.  65 countries and education systems participated in the most recent study.

Here are some of the findings:

In math, U.S. 15-year-old students actually came in below average. Asian countries took the top seven spots.  The United States came in behind Latvia, Luxembourg and Iceland, to name a few.

Only nine percent of the U.S. students tested scored in the top proficiency levels, while 26 percent scored at the bottom. The study found that students in Shanghai, China are the equivalent of two years ahead of American students in math.

U.S. students do a little better keeping up with their global cohorts in science .  The PISA tests found that seven percent scored at a high level, and that’s about average.  However, the 15-year-olds in 22 countries or education systems—including the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Canada and Vietnam—do better overall in science.

Nearly one in five 15-year-old U.S. students scored at the lowest end of the scale in science, roughly equal to the global average.

The trend continues in reading.  The average score of U.S. students was lower than 19 education systems, higher than 24 and about the same as 11 other countries.  Again, Asian countries are at the top.  The U.S. ranks just behind Germany, China and Switzerland, and just ahead of Latvia, Spain and Luxembourg.

In the Shanghai, China education system, one in four students reached the highest levels of reading proficiency.  In the U.S., that number is less than one in ten.

The report finds the scores for U.S. students are “not measurably different” from any time over the last 13 years, yet we’re losing ground.  That’s because other countries are doing better, according to Jan Rivkin, co-chair of Harvard’s U.S. Competitiveness Project.

“While our scores in reading are the same as 2009, scores from Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Poland and others have improved and now surpass ours,” Rivkin told National Public Radio.  “Other countries that were behind us, like Italy and Portugal, are now catching up.  The problem is not that we’re slowing down. The problem is that other runners are getting faster.”

The United States remains a global behemoth and surveys still rank the U.S. among the most competitive economies in the world.  However, those same surveys also note some slippage. The PISA results may explain at least part of the reason why.

In the expanding and hyper-competitive global economy, average just isn’t good enough.

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  • Retired Charlie

    Hoppy,

    You never answered your question. Why?

    • Hop'sHip

      I was thinking the same thing. Perhaps Hoppy's commentary should have been titled "Are We Falling Behind?"

    • John Brown

      Multiculturalism

      • Jason412

        Statement:
        "Why We're Falling Behind"

        Answer:
        “While our scores in reading are the same as 2009, scores from Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Poland and others have improved and now surpass ours,” Rivkin told National Public Radio. “Other countries that were behind us, like Italy and Portugal, are now catching up. The problem is not that we’re slowing down. The problem is that other runners are getting faster."

        The lack of reading comprehension so frequently displayed in the comment's section of this site is a fine display of why America is falling behind.

        • justin

          jason the know it all.. you have a solution for everything dont you!

          • Jason412

            Oh yes, a know it all. The information I post is available to anyone for free, its called the internet. I apologize for taking time to think before speaking, I'm sure you find it to be a repulsing characteristic.

          • Dane

            Jason, thank you.

        • John Brown

          One can, and should, argue that Americans were at best average against the world in this very subject pre WWII. Post WWII the societies and infrastructure of the world were literally destroyed--- all except America ... Advantage, us.

          • Jay

            Jason -

            Repulsive characteristic, not repulsing.

        • Helen

          Why?

          • John Brown

            Why what? most is self-evident, I would think.

            One example: The reason the space race advance so rapidly was because of captured technology from the Germans by both the Soviets and Americans.

            The famed Mig-15 that was superior to U.S. Fighters for so long was actually a captured design by the Soviets from the Germans.
            The list goes on and on---

        • John Brown

          That's not fair Jason. The intended inference, and correctly so, is that the U.S. is not keeping pace with the rest of the world.

    • WVU86

      'We' are falling behind because there are more comments under the story about the Class A football championship than there are about any other news story on this site.

    • J the C

      My sentiments exactly, Charlie

  • Hop'sHip

    Here is how PISA defines science literacy:

    "An individual’s scientific knowledge and use of that knowledge to identify questions, to acquire new knowledge, to explain scientific phenomena, and to draw evidence based conclusions about science-related issues; understanding of the characteristic features of science as a form of human knowledge and inquiry; awareness of how science and technology shape our material, intellectual, and cultural environments; and willingness to engage in science-related issues, and with the ideas of science, as a reflective citizen."

    Quick survey... How many here lamenting the state of science in our country believe that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years?

    • wirerowe

      Deus me livre. Irrelevant provocation Hops. Judge not lest ye be judged. Creationism versus evolution in the schools is another of your red herrings. Is not a major issue.

    • The bookman

      HH: you're baiting...I believe God created man and all the world and the universe...I have the faith that he did so in such a way that it is beyond our comprehension...and I believe that it is enough for him to know that we simply believe it to be, without the knowledge of the how and the when...Science tells us that it didn't happen as referenced in the KJV and that changes nothing in regards to my faith...science also has gaps in its explanation of how this came to be, and my faith fills that void and then some...blasphemy on such a public stage is very bold indeed!

      • TD

        well said Bookman, except for the last little slam line, you make great sense

      • Hillbilly

        My grandmother used to say, "The Bible says its so ... you don't question it." And I do not. Nowhere in the Bible is there a positively accurate timeline of when exactly anything occured

      • Hop'sHubris

        Leave me alone with your petty brain.

      • mntnman

        Science doesn't tell us it didn't happen, or that it was not created by God. Instead, science tries to understand how God did it. Obviously, He created physics and science that we can partly understand, so we try to explain what we see. I believe God created all; but I believe He did so in a way that we can understand and reason. It is not inconsistent with the belief that God created all to also recognize that the sun is a nuclear blast furnace. He created a working universe built on science. God gave us the ability to understand our universe, and the curiosity to seek out answers; to ask why. Nothing wrong with seeking out answers and being a Christian.

        • Wirerowe

          Nice points bookman and mntnman.

        • Neal

          Very nicely said. I find it interesting that we think we know so much that some people are sure there is not a God just because no one could be smart enough to create a universe. I wonder if an ant which lives out its life in an ant hill, never seeing a human or anything more than other bugs, also thinks that it is the smartest thing in the universe. Maybe so. Every day we as humans seem to find out more about science that, to me, reveals just how much we DON'T know yet. God didnt create the universe by 'magic'. He did it with an unimaginable understanding of science. Or some can just continue to believe that a long time ago a bunch of mud and chemicals were struck by lightning and eventually, through pure randomness, the human brain was formed.

        • Tom Stark

          Why is mankind so arrogant to think that God must do things in ways that mankind is able to understand? God does things every day that mankind cannot understand. There are examples visible to anyone willing to open their eyes to see them every single day. Look around!

    • Alum

      Nice red herring there. You are posing the old argument that you can't be a scientist or engineer and have faith because they are mutually exclusive.

      Try again, but your weak point is exposed for what it is.

      • Hop'sHip

        Talk about red herrings. I think there is a difference between faith and religious fundamentalism. I do believe the latter to be incompatible with scientific inquiry. If my point was weak, your counter was weaker. At least get my point right.

        • Alum

          Oh, I got it right. No where td you allude to your supposed point, go back and re-read what you wrote. You lumped all together. Nice try at a dodge but - fail.

          • Hop'sHip

            I'm really trying to understand YOUR point. I did re-read what I asked? "How many here lamenting the state of science in our country believe that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years?"

            Are you saying all people of faith believe that God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years? I associate this belief with literalism or fundamentalism. I think you can be a person of faith and reject that statement.

    • Hop'sHip

      OK Guilty as charged. I'm the only one throwing "red herrings" into the discussion. Now references to political correctness, social justice, the nanny state and income redistribution are all relevant.

      • John Brown

        Social Justice: Global Education For a Common Future With Equality For All.

        Are you familiar with Noel Ignatiev?

      • Wirerowe

        Hops I agree that there is some double standards on this blog. But I would make the point that somewhat jumps up in the morning and says those damn Christian fundamentalists is just as much a bigot as the one who jumps up and says those damn blacks or whatever. Bigotry is stereotyping a broad group of people and attributing those stereotypes to all members of that group. We all do it. But somehow people feel they can attack Christian fundamentalist and not call it bigotry. There is no good bigotry.

        • Jason412

          @Wirewore By that standard any Republican who speaks ill of Democrat's is a bigot. Christian's are bigots towards Atheist's.

          To compare a CHOICE, like becoming a Christian, to something you're born with, like skin color, now that's a hell of a stretch.

          • Neal

            Better be careful Jason. The 'choice' argument is one that many people give to argue against marital status for gay people.

        • Hop'sHip

          Wire: I think what I said was that religious (not just Christian) fundamentalism and scientific inquiry are often at odds. I think that has been shown to be true throughout history. You find that to be a bigoted observation?

          • Wirerowe

            Hops and Jason both fair criticisms. Jason it was a poor analogy I agree. There are "worker" bigots. Hops "often" seems a little over the top. I can thin of creationism/ evolution and Stem cell research. maybe there are a lot more cases out there that I am not aware of.No that is not a bigoted statement. But I infer by your propensity to drag Christianity into unrelated arguments some bias against religion.

          • Wirerowe

            Worker double comparative and all instead of worker.

    • TheFungoKnows

      You've been watching too much "Ancient Aliens".
      Darwinism is not true science. It is only a theory. One that has too many gaps in it to be legitimate.

    • Jason412

      You should of seen that coming, Hop.

      @Alum They are pretty much mutually exclusive. If you put all the top scientists in the world in a room there is only one topic they all agree on.

      But who needs science. Blasphemer's! All of them!

    • Don Jr.

      As with most problems, this one (education) also as many contributors.
      1/ The test itself.
      I do not believe the test is an accurate
      portayal of the state of our education
      system.
      2/ The teaching methods we have
      could be improved to give our children a
      better education.
      3/ Our current scientific state is what I would
      call the dark ages in science, where the first
      assumption made is to rule out the truth and
      spend all our energies trying to find an
      alternative explaination for life and the
      processes involved in life. This in not how
      science is supposed to approach research.
      Science should always be in search of truth,
      not discounting it at the start. The theories
      of science are supposed to be supported
      by proven facts, but that's not what we have
      today. I am profoundly amazed at how
      ignorant smart people can be and
      oftentimes are, particularly in the scientific
      community.

  • syd

    Am I the only one who was elated when I saw the results? Expected far worse than average.

  • Joe

    Good morning all....

    WCLG in Morgantown just reported that a new study confirms only 48% of WV college students who enrolled in 2005 earned a degree even after 6 years. How is this correlated to Hop's commentary, if it all can be?

    Thanks,

    Joe

    • The bookman

      Half of the kids going to college shouldn't have gone to college!

    • wirerowe

      Part of that is the scam that everybody needs to go to college. College is not for everyone. Colleges and universities always brag about their growing enrollment numbers and are seen as economic engines. The focus should change big time to the customer, the student, and on outcomes, graduation rates rather than how many go there. Also they need to teach more to market with more of a focus of degrees that are meaningful for a job and a career. It is terrible that students are going into debt and not get a degree.

      • Joe

        Thx Wire....agree with you.

      • a concerned educator

        Great job, wirerowe!

        I totally support your posting. Not all jobs require a college degree, but if you listen to the WV Dept. of Ed., as well as the Feds, they are ALWAYS harping on students going to college.

        • GregG

          But stop and think who profits from brainwashing every kid that college is the key to success. Our colleges have become nothing more than a big business. Also consider the fact that after college many of these kids are entering the workforce thousands of dollars in debt. That sure works in the favor of big business. It's easier to take advantage of one who is buried in debt than one that is financially secure. Debt is the modern day version of scrip and the company story.

      • Concerned

        Excellent comment

      • Hillbilly

        And even worse that students are getting expensive degrees in things like liberal arts and phys ed... will be lucky to get jobs, and ones that will never repay their loans. Colleges need to get with the times and offer degrees in what we need now.

      • Tom Stark

        Well put...there is also the problem of federal interference in paying for education. If the easy money of student loans were not available, the market for students would become far more competitive and schools would begin to work on cost cutting instead of empire building. Education, Food, Labor, Medical, Energy, and Housing are all heavily manipulated by federal financing/subsidies. The result is that these same areas are the ones where costs are rising faster than all other areas combined. Get the federal government out of picking winners and losers and the market will correct these things. Education is no exception. At the same time, it will correct the issue of those who are pushed into college when they would wind up far better off in a technical school, apprenticeship program or other vocational training,

  • Mike

    Much of our educational problems in WV stem from our schools being funded based upon the WesTest. Teachers only focus on what is ON the test..and not much more! There have even been schools caught giving students the correct answers in order to get the required average to keep from getting put into the "no child left behind" category!

  • Fubar

    Has anyone considered that our lower performance could be a result of the "nanny state" mentality. Political correctness, war on poverty, social-economic equality, and income redistribution have stifled incentive for parents and students to work hard and do their best. There are people who make things happen, watch things happen, and wonder what happened. Another cranky old man - must be something in the water!?

    • DB

      So that explains why Canada, France, Finland, etc. are ahead of us. God knows they have way less of that than we do.

  • Medman

    Teacher competence and respect has declined commensurate with their dress code and number who have joined the unions. Couple that with the breakdown of the family and you have a disaster in the making.

  • a concerned educator

    Hoppy

    It is actually a skewed argument when comparing the education system of the U.S. to other countries, especially when it comes to test scores. The differences in who is educated is considerable. If you look at the data on who is tested in Shanghai, you will find that only the rich students are taking the tests. This information is backed up by the Brookings Institute. This is also common in MANY other countries, including India. In addition, most countries do not test students with disabilities, but the United States does. This makes a huge difference in test scores. A third issue focuses on the amount of time students are required to attend school. In Korea, students begin school at 7:15 a.m. and continue until 9:15 p.m. They then go home and work on homework until 1:30. I know this for a fact because I have a friend who taught in Korea. In addition, Japan has the highest adolescent suicide rate in the world, and many researchers believe that it is because of educational pressure. Another issue is that in many countries, students are separated in 6th or 8th grade in terms of career track. Students are given a test and based on the test score, they are directed to either a college track or a vocational track. Only the students who follow the college track are tested.

    In 1958, the U.S. led the world in science and math scores. However, around this same time, the space race began. Before 2001, WV's NAEP scores (a national education test) were above the national average. Unfortunately, in 2001, George Bush passed the No Child Left Behind Act. This totally changed educational requirements, and not for the better. WV's test scores went down hill significantly as our Department of Education made changes to what was being taught.

    I am not saying that education does not need an overhaul because I firmly believe that it does. Teachers are so restricted on what they can teach that the creativity of the classroom has been railroaded. In addition, there is so much control from the state level (both WV Board of Education and Legislature) that county school systems have no wiggle room to teach what is important. Finally, in regards to the type of education provided, even China is seeing the need for a more developmentally appropriate education system that encourages creativity and play. We have taken multiple recesses out of the school day, and students are forced to sit for hours at a time. This is just not appropriate for little kids.

    I know that the good old days were not always as good a they seemed, but in terms of some educational aspects, they were. At one time, children at the elementary level were able to be children, not miniature adults, and students at the middle and secondary levels were provided an education that met their social and career needs, not only an education where everyone is forced to take the same classes in math and science in 9th and 10th grade.

    • TD

      wow, well said

    • The bookman

      Very good points indeed! I think the problem is assessment, and the concept that we should drive curriculum based on that assessment...we need to focus on the middle of the bell curve instead of the ends...let's focus on a well rounded education that produces proficient readers and competency in basic arithmetic but also gives graduates a concrete footing in the other content areas of the physical and social sciences...provide opportunities for advanced achievement where individual performance dictates, but everyone doesn't need trig or calculus to be successful...we can't attempt to educate everyone as though they are headed college! That has been our approach, and it is a terrible waste of resources...these studies are good fodder for discussion , but are largely meaningless... Compare and contrast achievement at the county and state levels to highlight achievement and disparity...that is useful data...if Iceland wants to be China, I say good luck! What a waste of money!

    • Cigarman

      Great post, thanks.

    • GregG

      By far the best comment I have ever read on this subject!!

    • Jason412

      Can you provide any proof that Korean Children spend 19 hours a day on school work?


      Also the reason Japan has such a high suicide rate is because it is respectable in their culture, not the sin our culture sees it as.

      • Jason412

        http://www.infoplease.com/world/statistics/school-years.html

        South Korea classes are from 8 am to 4pm, although students can choose to stay later.

        China is 7:30 am to 5pm with a 2 hour lunch break

        Maybe this is the problem with teachers, assuming by your name you are one. They spit out baseless facts to be ate up by the uninformed masses

        • a concerned educator

          Jason412

          In Korea, most students attend public school during the day, but then go to private school at night. As I stated earlier, I know this is true because a friend of mine recently taught in Korea. My friend's students also told her that after private school, they go home and work on homework each night until 1:30 a.m. This goes on six and a half days per week. The students are forced to go to school at night. They have told my friend that they have no time to play, sports, etc. Personally, I don't want my children to have such a terrible life or educational experience.

          The reason for the high suicide rate in Japan is not because it is glorified, as it was in WWII.

          I am not a teacher, but I used to be.

          One aspect of your posting that I will agree with is that some teachers, and I stress "some", do only teach worthless facts. That is not real teaching, and it is no wonder that students are bored in those classes.

          • Jason412

            Suicide was an honorable death in Japan for centuries before WWII, that tradition goes back to at least the days of Samurai's.


            So these small children sleep for what 4 hours a night? The stories you've heard indicate they would be eding studies at 1:30am and starting at 7:15 am Assuming they wake up an hour before class(shower/breakfast/commute time) theyd wake up at 6:15. If theyre finishing studies at 1:30 MAYBE they're asleep by 2AM.

            I refuse to believe, at least based only on hearsay, that ANY children could perform decently in school on 28 hours of sleep a week. I cant imagine how unproductive a classroom with 20+ kids that sleep 4 hours a night would be.

            Why do these children not look like walking corpses? It is insanely unhealthy for an adolescent to be that sleep deprived, and you're saying 6 1/2 days a week, month after month, there is no way the human body can function at full capacity with such little sleep involved.

            Im sorry but I think your friend stretched the truth above and beyond the reality.

          • a concerned educator

            Jason412

            I agree that it seems ludicrous, but I do not believe that my friend was lying. They had no reason to.

            At the same time, I also know, based on information from a former WV Superintendent of Schools that Singapore does not educate/test any students with disabilities. In fact, when our test scores are compared to Singapore, only the most elite schools in Singapore are even included in the testing. Most schools there are run down and in deplorable condition.

            The point that I am trying to make is that there is nothing wrong with comparing apples to apples, but don't try and compare oranges to prunes.

          • Jason412

            After some reading I see "hagwons"(after school tutoring schools) are incredibly big in S. Korea, 3 out of 4 students attend one, but I also found an interesting article.

            http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2094427,00.html

            Its illegal for the hagwons to have kids studying after 10pm.

            But regardless, your post made it seem like hagwons were a requirement when it, in fact, is 100% of the parents choice and comes out of their pocket. They're more dedicated to education out of personal choice, not because they're bound by law.


            American's have the same option. If you have the money, you could absolutely have your kid tutored until 10pm.

            It stands to reason the more time you spend learning the more you'll know, South Korean parents just choose to put more emphasis on school.

            Maybe something to consider is the fact teaching is a very lucrative career in S. Korea, thus bringing higher quality teachers to the classroom. If we were willing to spend the money on education we could have the same advantages.

          • a concerned educator

            Jason412

            The students of my friend who taught in Korea went to the private school until 9:15 p.m. They then went home and studied until 1:30.

            You are correct in stating that education is highly sought after and respected in S. Korea. It is unfortunately that more parents do not cherish this belief in the U.S. There are many parents who do, but there are many who believe that it is only the responsibility of the teachers to educate. Successful education requires both parties to be committed.

          • EPeducator

            concerned educator:

            You mention "deplorable conditions" in Singapore schools. Which school is that? I Please let me know. I have been in many of the higher level and most of the lower level schools. All were in pristine condition. And I was able to walk in and observe with a phone call the evening before as part of my exchange. The lab equipment at their equivalent of high school rivaled those at the university I attended in state! Please let me know which schools were in "deplorable condition". The hyper A-type society there would not allow for such a school to exist!

          • J the C

            Although I agree with a lot of your points, I believe that this story about Korea is false. Just because your friend, who had first hand knowledge, told you this doesn't make it a fact. Very, very, very few people, let alone children can function on four hours sleep. Sounds like someone is "gilding the lily" just a tad.

    • CaptainQ

      +1, concerned educator!

    • John Brown

      "well said"- "great post" -- "best post ever" the three mice proclaim--- because the poster found away to disparage George Bush, one should easily presume.

      How did Bush become the architect of a Teddy Kennedy piece of legislation? I bet this concerned educator also continues to let students believe Viet Nam was a war only to be blamed on Nixon, as well.

      • a concerned educator

        John Brown

        I only mentioned Bush because the Act was passed during his administration. I totally agree with you that the bill was bipartisan in nature, and that all individuals who voted in favor of it should be held responsible.

        At the same time, I also believe that Obama has not done a good job with our education system. In fact, I have been very disappointed in his work.

        By the way, I have never blamed Nixon for Vietnam. The blame goes far beyond one man.

        • John Brown

          Concerned Ed..

          Then I gladly withdraw my charge. My humble apologies.

      • GregG

        Sorry to bust your little bubble John Brown, but my comment commending a concerned educator on his post has nothing, let me say that again......NOTHING to do with politics. But since you feel that it is necessary to put a politically spin on education, hell I'll play. We can thank Ronald Reagan for creating such an economic mess in this country that it now takes both parents working two to three jobs in order to live. Instead of one parent being home to make sure the child is learning, they are busy trying to survive. Due to Reagan's "trickle down" BS our children are now suffering from the lack of an education, drug abuse, pregnancy, crime and increases in the suicide rate. So bust our unions, send our jobs to Mexico and force parents into economic hardships. Who cares as long a Big Business and the elite few keep their record setting wealth. I presume that's what you wanted to hear Mr. Brown.

        • John Brown

          GregG,

          Who dictates policy that directs this very institution we are all gathered here today discussing?
          How could it NOT be political?-- You sure you aren't meaning to be critical in a non-partisan way instead of being "apolitical" in this instance?

          Even though I publicly extended an apology to Concerned Ed. I'm still convinced it was a partisan political swipe they took. Parapraxis blaming Bush, if you will.

          • GregG

            If a concerned educator had omitted the second paragraph I would have still praised his comment.

        • Tom Stark

          Sorry GregG....you cannot lay that one at Reagan's feet although it is apparent you would try... The problems that increased the cost of living and interest rates were there well before Reagan started undoing the mess that Carter made of things. The cost of housing went through the roof under Carter and the statistics show that the two-wage-earner family pre-dated Reagan by several years in significant numbers.

    • Charleston,WV

      Hear, hear. Much agreed with your well stated commentary.

    • AX MAN

      How did I know? that the failing schools are George W's fault.

    • Wirerowe

      Concerned educator excellent comment and analysi.

  • Hop'sHip

    Hoppy, I would find this troubling too but then I fall back on the way we deal with troubling data in other areas like healthcare, infrastructure or inequality. First step: Attack the messenger. PISA I believe is one of those OECD efforts to create a one-world government. Just stick your head back in the sand and remember our new national motto: "I'm doing OK, SCREW EVERYBODY ELSE!"

  • rick g

    I'm always curious about with these studies is what percentage of the school going population in each country is used to calculate these scores. Or what type of correction curve is put in place to correct those populations and percentage differences. That never seems to be brought up and lost in the "USA falls behind Slovenia" headlines. If the USA is testing their top 90% vs another country testing only their top 50% well then yes we are going to be lower.

    • Tom Stark

      EXCELLENT! Finally someone realizes that these statistics are so bogus in that there is no standard among our own states much less all the countries included in the PISA numbers that is maintained regarding the universe of students taking the tests. If you want your scores to go down in order to make your state look like it is doing poorly and "needs more funding" simply include English as a second language and special ed students in your testing stats and down you go. Want to look great to impress your fellow governors or fellow superintendents? Just exclude low-achievers for whatever reason and fudge the numbers higher. Other countries have totally different standards for exclusion or inclusion of test results and we really have no way to know if we are comparing apples to apples or apples to pomagranates? Glad someone else sees this and what a farce these scores really are.

  • Gilbert Gnarley

    The US is a land of choices and some choose to not do well in school.

    Not mentioned in the study nor in the column is the fact that in most of those nations cited, parents as well as students are given few choices in their education.

    In the end we must live with our choices.

    We would do well to remember that fact rather than be fixated on some "PISA" test being used to further an agenda, here or abroad.

  • Wowbagger

    Hmmm...

    This didn't happen in the 1950s and 1960s when county boards of education were in charge and good, professional teachers determined what was taught and how to teach their students.

    Perhaps the very controlling and expensive US Department of Education and state Departments of Education aren't the answer and a huge waste of money.

    • wvbred

      Amen! It's going to get worse with this Common Core crap.

    • Hop'sHip

      Well, bagger. It may be that this didn't happen back then because these international comparisons didn't start until this century. So obviously the solution is not to participate in these studies. What we don't know surely can't hurt us.

      • Wowbagger

        Come on Hippie the proof is in success, test results have their limitations and tests are not necessarily predictors of success.

        The US at the time was a in leader in science and engineering. I remember from the 50s and 60s a farmer's son who had some problems with English who retired a Professor of Biochemistry at Columbia. Another farmer's son became Director of Engineering for a Bell research facility. They were bright guys with good caring teachers and I personally knew both of these guys.

        Then there was Homer Hickham the Rocket Scientist from Coalwood.

        • Hop'sHip

          Isn't nostalgia great. You had me singing "Why can't they be like we were..." Thanks bagger. I think the problem also is talented women have too many opportunities today. Back in the day, smart women in the work force were willing to accept lower paying occupations like nursing and teaching and didn't complain. Now they want to be doctors and managers, and take good paying positions from the heads of households. And don't get me started on taking prayer out of the classroom....

          • Wowbagger

            The engineer's sister became a mother and well respected chemist at the Colorado School of Mines Research Institute.

            I don't know her whole story, but a contemporary of these folks and the mother of a friend, Dr. Helen Plants taught a couple of generations of engineers at WVU.

    • Concerned

      Actually, I don't think that's a statement that can be backed up. I don't believe any studies were done in the 60's on worldwide education. And many of the countries on the list wouldn't have been in any condition to provide a decent educational system. I don't believe our education has necessarily downgraded, but that many developing countries are simply catching up. Much of the worlds living standards have improved, with that will come more and better educational opportunities.

    • J the C

      perhaps not.

  • ShinnstonGuy

    It's our own fault. Our so-called freedoms have created a classroom environment in which there is no respect for the teacher, the teacher doesn't have the ability to teach critical thinking because standardized scores are all the rage, and students are allowed to eat, drink, and use social media when they should be focused. For my money, I say bring back paddles and smacks on the wrist with a ruler. Or maybe we should militarize the schools...wow, I am in "cranky old man" mode today!

    • Wowbagger

      Shinston,

      I graduated from an old style military school, didn't like it much at the time, but have appreciated the opportunity ever since.

      I personally think that this is the reason the Mountaineer Challenge Academy is so successful.

      Another grumpy old man here, but it worked!

  • zero tolerance

    Two things I can recall hearing as long as my memory serves me.

    1. Social Security will be non existent soon.

    2. The US is falling behind other nations educationally.

    Social Security is still here and we have fallen behind farther after each John Tesh Research Study. Both remain out of anyone's apparent control.

  • John Brown

    Oh Hoppy,

    Stop with your compulsive handwringing—Relax—How do you expect “Social Justice” to prevail in this world if we don’t knock the U.S. down a peg or two---- And one of the ways to accomplish this is of course: To have a poorly educated populace, especially the Caucasian aspect of our populace.

    • John Brown

      LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD, BY GOSH!!