View Full Version : The myth of declining U.S. schools: They've long been mediocre

02-11-2011, 08:49 AM
This from Washington Post (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/class-struggle/2011/02/myth_of_declining_us_schools.html) by Jay Mathews:
"U.S. students, who once led the world, currently rank 21st in the world in science and 25th in math," Newsweek reported in September. I hear that a lot. Politicians and business leaders often bemoan the decline of American education compared to the rest of the world. We are doomed, they say, unless we [fill in here the latest plan to save the country.]

So I was surprised to find, in the latest report (http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2011/0207_education_loveless.aspx) by the wonderfully contrarian Brookings Institution scholar Tom Loveless, that the notion of America on the downward track is a myth. The data show that we have been mediocre all along, as far back as 1964. If anything, we have lately been showing some signs of improvement.

Loveless, senior fellow at the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings, says in his annual report on American Education:

"The United States never led the world. It was never number one and has never been close to number one on international math tests. Or on science tests, for that matter. It is more accurate to say that the United States has always trailed the world on math tests."

This is not exactly good news, but context is important. If we have managed to be the world's most powerful country, politically, economically and militarily, for the last 47 years despite our less than impressive math and science scores, maybe that flaw is not as important as film documentaries and political party platforms claim. And if, after so many decades of being shown up by much of the rest of the developed world, we are improving, it might be time to be more supportive of what we already doing to fix our schools.

read more>> (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/class-struggle/2011/02/myth_of_declining_us_schools.html)