I'm sure you've heard that our schools are failing us, that international students kick our kids' fannies on tests,and that we'll all be working for the Chinese and Indians in just a few years, right? Those assertions have always troubled me, as they just don't seem to fit with the fact that our country is still leading innovation and taking care of much of the world financially.
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?