With the news today of the U.S. scoring low yet again on international tests, this time in the releasing of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2009 test scores. Click here for the PISA report. (Class matters -social class, that is; scroll to the bottom of this blog post for the report's statement that gets at the "essential question.")
Click to this ABC news story, "China Debuts at Top of International Education Rankings" and this Canadian television news report, "Canadian education among best in the world: OECD."
Look out for more attacks on teachers, teachers' unions and teachers' pensions, as ways out of the laggard US educational performance.
Forget that many school systems are run by people without masters' degrees in the academic subjects that they supervise (from curriculum standards at the state level down to the school administrators). Forget that in the US school systems and schools aggressively impose the fuzzy math of constructivist math that thinks that every third grader can be a math theorist.
You can be sure that in Finland and in Canada, some of the top countries in student math scores in the PISA tests, that policy makers do not accredit their success to:
denigration of teachers as a profession,
denigrate the practice of educating (in contrast to constructivist progressive anarchy),
blame teachers for poor education performance while failing to acknowledge a fraying social safety net, accompanied by ballooning poverty rates and a widening of gaps between the poor and the upper middle and upper classes,
pursuit of the closing of large comprehensive high schools,
paying of legions of highly paid consultants with no background in the academic subjects that the coach and consult on,
pursuit of laying off thousands of experienced teachers and practice age discrimination by demonstrating a preference for fresh-off-the-street teachers over experienced teachers,
whipping the public into a furor over teachers' pensions,
pursuing the fetish of the quantification of everything,
pursuing the shutting down of public schools and replacing them with for-profit (or non-profit, for that matter) charter schools,
you can be sure that these policies are not pursued in the realization of positive education outcomes.
ADDENDUM: class and resources matter:
The report says,
Within countries, schools with better resources tend to do better only to the extent that they also tend to have more socio-economically advantaged students. Some countries show a strong relationship between schools’ resources and their socio-economic and demographic background, which indicates that resources are inequitably distributed according to schools’ socio-economic and demographic profiles.