By Christina Slater
Yesterday’s release of the 2012 Program for International Assessment (PISA) scores prompted many education advocates to analyze U.S. academic performance on an international scale.
PIE Network members in Connecticut, Florida and Massachusetts, the three U.S. states that chose to receive individual ratings, had a unique opportunity to see how their states measure up.
Though Connecticut performed above national and international averages in reading and science, Nicki Perkins from the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) noted that “the achievement gap remains a persistent problem,” leaving much work yet to do statewide and nationally. Perkins also stated that the success of other countries shows that socio-economic status doesn’t have to determine student performance. “Because closing the achievement gap is both a moral and economic imperative, Connecticut and America should take this lesson from our international peers seriously,” she said.
ConnCAN’s Jen Alexander also mentioned “bright spots” for Connecticut, but said overall results showed “we are not yet adequately preparing our students to compete for 21st century careers in a global economy.” Many of Connecticut’s non-white students, and students from schools in low-income areas, performed below the national average in math.
Massachusetts students took the national lead for scores in math, science and reading, and fared well against other countries, too. Stand for Children Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education shared these promising results on social media, but like advocates in other states, focused on the continued need for further progress.
Jeb Bush, Chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, said the U.S. has “no excuse in the book” to justify its low overall performance. However, Massachusetts’ strong showing, along with its history of bold education reforms, shows “all students can and will learn when education is focused on them,” Bush said.
For additional nationwide analysis, check out Democrats for Education Reform’s “Mediocre PISA Performance” infographic, or the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Mike Petrilli on the assumptions we make when trying to explain PISA performance.
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