First Arne Duncan:
At an education forum in Washington this morning, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan bluntly expressed his concerns with the latest outcome.
“The PISA results, to be brutally honest, show that a host of developed nations are outeducating us,” he said. “Americans need to wake up to this educational reality.”
With regard to the gains in science, he said: “I don’t think that’s much to celebrate. ... Being average in science is a mantle of mediocrity.”
Then Chester Finn:
“On Pearl Harbor Day 2010, the United States (and much of the rest of the world) was attacked by China.
“Too melodramatic? Maybe you’d prefer 'Sixty-three years after Sputnik caused an earthquake in American education by giving us reason to believe that the Soviet Union had surpassed us, China delivered the aftershock.'
“It came via yet another wonky study, The PISA 2009 Results: What Students Know and Can Do, reporting that on a test of math, reading and science given to fifteen year olds in sixty-five countries in 2009, Shanghai’s 15-year-olds topped those in every other jurisdiction in ALL THREE SUBJECTS. What’s more, Hong Kong ranked in the top four on all three assessments ....
“... Will this be the wake-up call that America needs to get serious about educational achievement? Will it be the Sputnik of our time? Will it stir us out of our torpor and get us beyond our excuse-making, our bickering over who should do what, our prioritizing of adult interests and our hang-ups about the very kinds of changes that China is now making while we dither?"
And Obama called it a Sputnik moment, saying we need to do more to close the lowest performing schools and fire the teachers in those schools in order to improve the American education system.
The ed deformers are calling for a doubling down on NCLB - more testing, more test prep, less arts and music education, longer school days and years to administer the test prep.
But as Valerie Strauss points out, none of this has worked.
10 years after NCLB, the test scores remain stagnant.
The test prep/high stakes testing culture we have in American education isn't working and we need to change it.
But the ed deform movement says i'ts not the policies that are the problem, it's the schools and the teachers.
If we just take the education policies that haven't been working and do them longer, harder and all year round and then fire more teachers and close more schools, WE WILL IMPROVE.
Oh, yeah, that should work.