New Report: U.S. Lags Behind International Competitors
posted by: Alix | July 27, 2012, 02:11 PM   

Despite year after year of increased spending in the United States, students from nearly twenty countries are outperforming their American counterparts at record levels. According to a new report by the Harvard University's Program on Education Policy and Governance, U.S. students are falling further behind and are not catching up to their peers in other industrialized countries.

Researchers found that students in Latvia, Chile, and Brazil are making academic gains three times faster than American students, while those in Portugal, Hong Kong, Germany, Poland, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Colombia, and Lithuania are improving at twice the rate. Based on estimates, the gains made by students in those 11 countries equate to about two years of learning.

The report concluded that while the United States has not lost academic ground, our gains pale in comparison to international strides. Deemed "hardly remarkable by world standards" of progress more countries are improving at a rate significantly faster than that of the United States. Researchers examined data for 49 industrialized countries in the comprehensive report. Further, the study found little correlation between increased per-pupil spending and gains in test scores despite record spending. Models suggest that countries experiencing strong gains are often spending less than half of American spends per-pupil.

The findings do not bode well for the progress of American schools. As the Council on Foreign Relations task force recently asserted, “The United States’ failure to educate its students leaves them unprepared to compete and threatens the country’s ability to thrive in a global economy.” Chaired by education leaders including former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the task force said that the country “will not be able to keep pace—much less lead—globally unless it moves to fix the problems it has allowed to fester for too long.”

As facts about international rankings continue to emerge, the push for education reform will only increase. The future of our education system is truly an economic issue that could potentially produce dire consequences for generations to come.

Click here to view the report including information on state-specific academic gains.

What do you think about the new Harvard report? Does the data surprise you?
Comment below.

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