By Matt Buccelli
A recent sample of test score data from around the world is causing significant concern among American education observers and public officials. The report, which tallied the math, science, and reading scores of 15 year-olds in each of the 34 countries within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD], demonstrates mediocre results for the United States, and shows us lagging behind many other Asian and European countries. On the 1,000 point scale of the International Student Assessment, we scored a 500 in reading, 502 in science, and 487 in math.
The results sounded alarm bells for many public officials. Education Secretary Arne Duncan referred to the results as "a massive wake-up call." Added Duncan: "Have we ever been satisfied as Americans being average in anything? Is that our aspiration? Our goal should be absolutely to lead the world in education."
Representative George Miller [D-CA], the outgoing chairman of the House Education Committee, expressed similar distress. "Average won't help us regain our global role as a leader in education. Average won't help our students get the jobs of tomorrow. Average is the status quo and it's failing our country."