The Education Trust's Disinformation Campaign

There appears to be no level of dishonesty to which the Education Trust will not sink in propagating its agenda which is right now to get No Child Left Behind reauthorized. Thursday, July 19, on "On Point," an NPR show that comes out of WBUR, the Trust's Amy Wilkins told host Tom Ashbrook, "Our most affluent kids are getting their lunches eaten by kids in other countries. The system we have has not served our children well. There is no point pouring more federal money into very broken bottles."

I listened to the show again this morning (July 20) and assure you the quote is accurate and that it is not taken out of context. Anyone can find it at The statement comes a little after minute 40 in the show.

Leave alone for a moment if a bottle can be "very broken," what do the results of international comparisons actually look like? Here they are for the most recent incarnations of PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) and TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study). I present the results for U. S. schools with fewer than 10% of students in poverty (13% of all U. S. students), 10-25% (17% of all students), 25-50% (28%), 50-75% (22%) and more than 75% (20%), interwoven with the top countries, the international average for all countries and the U. S. overall average.

PIRLS Reading

US 10% 589

US 10-25% 567

Sweden 562

Netherlands 554

England 553

U. S.25-50% 551

Latvia 545

U. S. overall 542



U. S. 50-75 519



Int'l avg. (35 countries) 500

U.S 75+ 489

TIMSS Math 4th Grade

Singapore 594

Hong Kong 575

US 10% 567

Japan 565

Taiwan 564

Belgium 551

US 10-25% 543

Netherlands 540

Latvia 536

Lithuania 540

U. S. 25-50% 533



US overall 518

US 50-75% 500

Int'l avg. (25 Countries) 495

US 75%+ 471

TIMSS Science 4th grade

US 10% 579

US 10-25% 567

Singapore 565

US 25-50% 551

Taiwan 551

Japan 543

Hong Kong 542

England 540

US overall 536



US 50-75% 519


Int'l avg. 489


U. S. 75%+ 480

TIMSS 8th grade results look very similar.

Thus, for reading and science, the two categories of US schools with the smallest percentages of students living in poverty score higher than even the highest nation, Sweden in reading, Singapore in science. In math, the top US category would be 3rd in the world.

It is only in American schools with 75% of more of their students living in poverty where scores fall below the international average.

The TIMSS results are in NCES report NCES 2005-005 from the National Center for Education Statistics, U. S. Department of Education. The PIRLS results are online only at

Eating our kids' lunches? Wilkins' performance makes me want to hurl lunch.