I have been ill today. So, since I have several family members who are educators in America, I decided to do some research on how we compare to other countries. The general complaint is that students are pushed through the system to keep educators’ numbers up. Without further ado, lets see what the statistics will show.
According to Pearson, the United States ranks 14th out of 40 countries when it comes to education. We have a score of 0.39 in “cognitive skills and educational attainment.” In general ignorance of social statistics (unemployment rates, teen pregnancy, etc.)” we are ranked second, Italy beat us out for the top prize. Surely we can read and comprehend right? Yeah, not so much. In literacy, we are an abysmal 24th. Well, these are only stats so we can make it up on the test if we are good guessers! In education performance, we rank 17th out of 40 countries. We can do basic math right? The US ranks 11th in fourth grade math (out of 50 countries).Well, at least most of us can read at the 4th grade level….we crashed in at 6th place. On the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test we finished 23rd out of 65 economies. Granted it is a science test but still, come on already. We ranked 7th in knowing how to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Seriously. This is a true fact. We rank 8th in money spent on education. Lastly, we rank 34th in math progress.
Do you feel dumb yet? I do. What has led us down this path of substandard education? Is it the policies of the government? A lack of teachers? What is the cause of us trailing the rest of the world in education? To show how dumb we are as a society, we are 7th in knowing how to avoid becoming pregnant. South Africa beat us for God’s sake. President Trump asked for an education budget of 63.2 billion dollars. For 60+ billion, we need better results. Teachers are some of the most under-appreciated people in our society, but somewhere there is a disconnect.
It is easy to blame the teachers for these results. Yet, education starts at home. So, parents are equally to blame (yes, I am counting myself in this group). We have become a nation that is so afraid of offending someone that we just pass them on through. God forbid Johnny has to take the 4th grade again. Another reason that we are trailing is because we no longer see a need to compete. Once upon a time, we believed that America was exceptional. Slowly, that belief has eroded over time. We see no reason to put forth any effort. Why bother trying, when you will be passed on to the next grade because Mr./Mrs./Ms. Smith does not want to deal with you again.
I think that it is high time that the next president should run on education reform. If America does not show any improvement, then say goodbye to your raise. It is embarrassing and quite disheartening to view these stats. Granted, teachers often go unappreciated, with results like these it is no wonder why. I have sat in classrooms where the students that need help are put on the back burner while those that can pass are given the attention they need to be successful and vice versa. At some point, the student must make up their mind that they will succeed and they will put forth maximum effort in improving their life. Otherwise, it is a wasted effort on behalf of educators worldwide.
That is going to do it for me today. Take care.