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Bill Gillies - Editor

U.S. students lag behind peers in other countries

Education Secretary Arne Duncan responded earlier this week to a new report that documents the poor showing of American students relative to the students of other countries. In math, America’s 15-year-olds’ scores now lag behind those of 31countries. In science, eighth graders’ scores now lag behind their peers in eight countries, and in reading, five countries have improved their performance and surpassed the U.S.’s 4th graders.

Today’s report is another wake-up call that our students are treading the waters of academic achievement while other countries’ students are swimming faster and farther. Our students have stagnated educationally, putting our long-term economic security at risk…

These results show that for us to stay competitive and move forward we have to get our students ready for global competition. That’s why I so strongly support the work of our governors and chief state school officers to develop a set of common internationally-benchmarked, college and career-ready standards that will help put our students’ performance on par with other top performing countries. We’ve never settled for second best, and now we’re in another race of sorts – a race to the top tier of the world’s students whose academic achievement is the best and the brightest.

As we reach to the top, of course our four tenets of educational reform will help propel us there: putting the best teachers in schools where they’re most needed, closing down chronically under-performing schools and creating better ones, data systems that track students from the cradle to college and link student results back to teachers, and world-class standards to help states build their reforms…

This is the first time that the most recent findings from the three major internationals tests have been published in one place. It compels us to renew our focus and reinvigorate our resolve to prepare our students to achieve to high academic standards and be ready for the global marketplace.

Later in the week Duncan announced $650 million in new “innovation” funding that will reward school districts that have designed and tested effective, scalable systems for boosting student achievement, improving failing schools, retaining top-notch teachers, and increasing graduation rates.

Tags: Government, School/College


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