international tests

When it comes to math skills, Alabama performs like Armenia, Mississippi comes close to Dubai, Washington, D.C., performs like Ukraine, and Massachusetts is just one rung below Japan, according to a study released by the U.S. government Wednesday.
We're a nation that's coming to respect statistics. Billy Bean convinced us that better statistics could beat bigger payrolls in sports. Nate Silver helped humble Karl Rove's money machine with better statistics. Maybe it's time to take a more careful look at the international test statistics judging how good our nation's schools are.
A Somewhat Happy Education Headline? America's students are graduating high school at higher rates, according to a new Harvard report (via the Wall Street Journal.) In 2000, researchers found, 77.6 percent of Americans ages 20-24 had high school diplomas; 10 years later, 83.7 percent of that same group held diplomas. "The improvement was particularly sharp among blacks and Hispanics," WSJ reports. "For instance, in 2000, 61.2% of black men between 20 and 24 had finished high school; in 2010, 72.0% of black men in that age bracket had." But even so, 20 percent of American men between 20 and 24 -- and 14 percent of women -- still lack that crucial certification.
We are unique in pursuing so much testing, punitive measures against schools and teachers, and the creation of so many independent charter schools. At the same time, we are ignoring financial inequality among schools and school districts.