-We Are Not On Equal Playing Fields-
An article in the May 23rd issue of “Education News” called The Global Search for Education: Can You Pass the Global Standardized Test, it declared, “The performance of US students in the 2009 PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) was poor, especially when you consider that the US has the biggest global economy and is among the top 10 countries in standards of living.”
This should come as absolutely no revelation to anyone considering they are comparing apples to oranges. One, America has verified that additional money does not equate to a superior education.
Two, in America we do not instruct our children in similar conditions as in other countries. In America ALL children go to school; no matter their ability, whether or not they want to go or not, no matter how disruptive, rude and disrespectful they are. What’s more, those are the students we concentrate on. In other countries countless children do not endure beyond the 3rd to 5th grade levels, only those that excel progress and those children that are disruptive, rude or disrespectful are expelled, permanently.
Furthermore, in America we have transformed our education method from academics to social subjects, such as sex education, multiculturalism, drug prevention, climate change, etc. We have adopted the Whole Language method of teaching how to read in place of Phonics. Other countries concentrate mainly on language (theirs and ours), math and science and entrust the other topics to the family.
Finally, why are we contrasting ourselves to other countries? We were sovereign nation, we were the most influential and feared nation on earth. We must start acting like it again. In this expose it inquired, “Given the global economic, social and demographic changes taking place, how is PISA planning to ensure that its test will continue to measure the competencies that are most relevant to the future success of students?”
Granted economically we need to be globally savvy, but socially who cares. We should have little in common with many of these socialist, communist countries; America appears to be more concerned with fitting in rather than being the leader in the world. Our Founding Fathers understood that remaining a sovereign country was the surest way to endure as a nation, and the Constitution was the preeminent method for a nation to endure. Benjamin Rush composed these words to his fellow countrymen on October 20, 1773, “Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families.” Mr. Rush recognized that sovereignty was essential for America and our families.
In his 1833 commentaries on the Constitution, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story clarified what would transpire if American’s elected individuals who disclosed what we aspired to perceive rather than articulate the truth and guard our sovereignty with this declaration, “Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.”
In brief, our global tallies do not measure up to other countries because we are not on equal playing fields. If you were to eliminate the bottom 15% of America’s scores you would find us ahead of every other nation. In addition, we should not strive to surpass or even compare ourselves to other nations; on the contrary, we should strive to exceed our own expectations.
Teacher/Author “Teachers… It Ain’t Your Fault.”