Finally, though, there's some sanity in the discussion. While I do know that there is plenty we can do better in our schools, Jay Matthews -- the best education columnist on the beat -- adds a much-needed dose of facts and reality to the discussion. His conclusion? The sky is not falling on our schools. I agree.
Key points from the piece:
- If you're going to compare test scores, helpful if kids taking the tests are same age or taking test after same prep.
- If you're going to compare career paths, helpful to check if "engineer" means same thing in both countries.
- If one country (the US) aims for the most part to keep all of its students in traditional high schools and another siphons off (early) many of its lesser academic stars straight to career-training (and doesn't test those students), then do you have an apples-to-apples comparison on testing?
In the end it comes down to how you and your school are doing with your child? Is he or she challenged? Are you connecting and getting involved and keeping things on a good track? Or you encouraging life-long learning? That's what this site is all about, and it's important that we don't let doom-and-gloomers tell us that we can't do it well. Thanks Jay!