Can US students still compete?

Brian Green

Staff Writer, Lake Worth Campus

 

Last December the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) released the results of tests taken by 15 year olds from various countries around the world. Once again, the United States scored lower than several countries, ranking 17th in reading, 21st in science and 26th in math on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). st

 

The US rankings are given as an average of all participating 50 states, with the top scoring states being Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Florida, either ranked average, or below average, in comparison to other states, depending on the category. Once again, the Chinese province of Shanghai ranked first in all three categories. And Asian countries were the four top leaders in all three categories.

 

One reason the Chinese may have such high scores across the board is that with their education model.  Teachers are afforded up to 30 percent of their paid time toward self-education; devoting the other 70 percent toward teaching students. The Chinese also transfer teachers and administrators with the best records to areas that need improvement within the province.

 

“In the US, Schools of education are focusing too heavily on courses on how to teach, as opposed to the proper amount of time for the future teacher’s subject matter.” Palm Beach State’s Professor Steve Brahlek commented on this balance of time toward self and students for educators.

 

Another possible reason for such high scores may lie within the practice of parent-teacher communication. Former education Chancellor of New York city’s education department, Joel Klein visited Shanghai and discovered this bond is highly promoted. In Shanghai it is common for a teacher to either telephone, email or talk in person with parents as much as two or three times weekly. The practice promotes a community effort in educating the future leaders and workers of this emerging economic powerhouse.

 

The debate is continuing as to how we as a nation may better educate our youth. Lake Worth Campus student, Cherley Cherizard, one of four vice presidents for the campuses Phi Theta Kappa chapter, said of education issues here in America “Recently, at the Martin Luther King celebration, Benjamin Jealous summed it up well. He told us that, ‘our plane is losing altitude and we’re fighting about who’s in first class.’”

This statement by a national figure, in politics and civics, shows, that even at the top tiers of our nation’s organizations, this issue is not going unnoticed.

The next PISA’s results in 2015 will yield just how much movement toward betterment the country has achieved.