Report: U.S. Again Lags Behind In Math And Science Scores

220px-ClassroomAs we continue to gush billions of dollars for Afghanistan and Iraq as well as giving $100 million buildings to Israel, our school system continues to decline and our student school continue to rank below a long list of other countries. The most recent reports of fourth and eighth graders shows the United States lagging behind Asian and European countries in math and science. Nevertheless, we will continue to give billions to wealthy countries like Israel with better schools and increasingly hostile countries like Pakistan and Egypt. The real threat to this country is the collapsing educational system and erosion of our competitive labor force.

The two new reports, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, show South Korea and Singapore leading in science in the fourth grade and Singapore and Taiwan leading in the eighth grade. The U.S. ranked 11th in fourth-grade math and 9th in eighth grade math. We ranked 7th in fourth grade science and 10th in eighth-grade science.

I am less worried about the ranking as I am with the fact that only 7 percent of students reached the advanced level in eighth-grade math compared to 48 percent of eighth graders in Singapore and 47 percent of eighth graders in South Korea.

I have been admittedly harping on this issue for years. I fail to understand how our leaders can get away with the lack of priority shown toward education which plays directly into our competitiveness in the world market.

Source: New York Times

119 thoughts on “Report: U.S. Again Lags Behind In Math And Science Scores”

  1. Well Blouise, the NFLPA was sold down the river by a loser attorney/politician who never won a race in Wi.[Gov and US Senate] named Ed Garvey. He is a VERY progressive attorney who doesn’t know shit from shinola. They needed Marvin Miller, not some glad handing ham n’ egger Irish hack. The NFLPA is still paying for his incompetence. Don’t try and bullshit me on this. Negotiations are hardball, and the NFLPA picked a softball player. Marvin Miller was an all-star, and the MLPA has the best standard agreement of any sport, football the worst. We pay for our sins and poor decisions.

  2. Elaine, Chrissake! I think testing is important as are other aspects of evaluation. You’re OBSESSED w/ testing are are all your union brothers and sisters. NO Elaine, it should not be the only criteria but YES, it should be part of the evaluation. WHAT THE F@CK ELSE DO I NEED TO SAY ON THIS TOPIC. I’m beginning to think you need reading comprehension testing. I’ve said this @ least 5 times to you as recently as 4:37p today. Is English your primary language? I know the union despises testing..well, deal w/ it.

  3. mespo,

    Yes, I am familiar with the study you have put forward ..;. it was also touted and praised by the Fraser Institute, a libertarian think tank out of Canada funded, in part, by the Koch brothers and also a favorite of ALEC.

    Ho hum ….

    I believe I’ll stick with my real life experiences … my mother-in-law’s principled stand … and Elaine is right … part of what my mother-in-law, a superb and honored teacher, spent 2 weeks in jail for was the right to take a bathroom break. Human Dignity!

    I could also put forward my real life experiences as I watched the guys from the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers work with my next-door neighbor to establish the NFL Players Association where the big push was for continued payment of salaries to injured players. Imagine that … an injured player actually asking that his pay check continue as the injury healed??!! Good god … he wasn’t even being productive and he still wanted a pay check?! Human Dignity!

    Now speaking of mediocrity and the like … how in the hell did Scalia and Thomas rise so far to the top and thus be the living, breathing representatives of the best the legal profession has to offer? These two compose 25% of the non-chiefs … what kind of union helped them?

  4. nick,

    You absolutely missed my point about the mania for high stakes testing and its negative effects upon public education. Either that or you are trying to ignore what I wrote and prefer instead to address the use of testing results in teacher evaluations.

    Here’s what I wrote to you earlier:

    Elaine M. 1, December 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm


    I think both Obama and Duncan don’t have a good understanding of how to address the problems of failing schools. One of the things that is destroying the good schools in this country is the mania for high stakes testing. And what is being done with test results goes beyond the pale.

    I think children with behavioral issues–especially boys–will do worse in schools where there are fewer hands-on exploratory experiences and fewer field trips because teachers are being required to focus their curriculum on teaching to “paper-and-pencil” tests. Schools are being forced to become more rigid…to try to make square kids fit into round holes. That is not the way to meet the needs of our children and to improve education in this country.

    I also wrote this:

    Elaine M. 1, December 12, 2012 at 4:07 pm


    “Do you think that it’s a good thing that schools are becoming more rigid and that teachers are being required to spend valuable class time prepping children for high stakes paper and pencil multiple choice tests is a good thing? Do you believe that will improve education in this country?”


    Any response?

  5. shano, I knew he was her old man..estranged I believe? Well, may he be reincarnated and be close to his daughter in another life.

  6. SWM, I commend you and your husband for taking the step to do what’s best for your kids. Here’s a problem my sister had w/ bad public schools. She worked as Director of Development @ Choate/Rosemary Hall. One of her perks was her kids got a full ride @ Choate. Of course, they had to pass the entrance exam. When her kids were in the first years in Wallingford Public Schools they did great. However, she saw the work they were given and audited a few classes. She was not impressed, to be diplomatic. Then, she started hearing horror stories from Choate teachers[they also got gratis education for their kids] that their kids, who went to Wallinford schools weren’t passing the Choate exam. There was a mass exodus. My sister chose Foote School in New Haven, where many Yale profs send their kids. It was expensive and needed commuting. My mom was the nanny and did a lot of the car pooling for her grandkids and other future Choate kids. Whatever it takes for our kids. But, I know I’m preaching to the choir on that.

  7. Be nice to Nora Jones, her father Ravi Shankar just died.
    May he rest in peace, what a lovely man.

  8. nick, I will take the Madison schools any day over DISD. We studied the schools in the DFW area, and we decided to send both of our kids to private schools. Also, some of the fundamentalist christian stuff that goes on at the suburban public schools can be off putting if you don’t come from that backround. Like i said there are some very good districts but not enough of them.

  9. Ah, Nora Jones..the musical cure for insomnia. Does she record on the Ambien label?

  10. mespo, That’s a point I was making w/ the annual Newsweek study. Lot’s of Texas schools make it. Wi., the allegedly progressive state, didn’t have a high school appear until ~150! In Madison, where teachers closed down schools in protest in 2011, have several failing schools. Here’s the hypocrisy of the year award. Wi. has open enrollment., A parent can choose to send their kids to another district. For decades Madison schools have stated they’re the best in the state. Well, kids are leaving in droves. So, the school district and teacher’s union want to put a cap on the number of kids who can leave. A Berlin Wall of Education.

  11. mespo, They are two magnet schools that offer many ap classes. Most of the parents i know that went that kids went there were not that pleased. They do not compare to to Highland Park ISD although one is very good for the arts. Nora Jones and Erykah Badu went there.

  12. mespo, No one can argue that the first and most important duty of a union is to protect its members. So, when teacher unions say it’s, “All about the children” it is by definition false. I’m being diplomatic by using the term “false.”

    Blouise, As stated previously, I grew up in a union family but I see them as more detrimental than good, particularly in the public sector. The icon of Dems, FDR, opposed public unions. But, I would be bored to death if I discussed stuff w/ people that agree w/ me. Too many love an echo chamber. C’est la vie.

    Elaine, Again, I’ve said MANY times to you. I’m w/ our president and Duncan. Tests MUST be PART of a teacher’s evaluation along w/ parent, peer and administration input. In high school, I would also include student input.

  13. mespo,

    Nothing is pristine in this world.

    At one time in my school system–before the advent of collective bargaining–an elementary teacher had no scheduled time away from her students from the time she began work in the morning until the final bell rang in the afternoon. Imagine not having a lunch break–not even a bathroom break–all day long. Teachers who needed to use the restroom facilities had to open a door–if there was one–into a neighboring classroom and ask the teacher there if she’d watch her class while she was in the bathroom. What our first collective bargaining contract got us elementary teachers was a duty-free lunch every day. Later contracts got elementary teachers a planning period four days a week. I don’t think that’s asking too much–especially when one considers that elementary teachers teach every subject.

  14. sm:

    Per US News: “There are more than 400 Texas schools in the U.S. News Best High Schools 2012 rankings. Two Texas schools are ranked within the top three in the nation, and both are in the Dallas Independent School District.”

  15. Teacher’s unions have been used to separate actions from consequences, and they have traditionally been resistant to new processes or objective worker evaluations.

    When that happens productivity falls. That’s the conclusion of a report on productivity and unionism done by economist Barry Hirsh at Florida State in 1997. These are his conclusions:

    Despite the very real benefits of collective voice for workers, the positive effects of unions have been overshadowed by union rent-seeking behavior.* Productivity is not higher, on average, in union workplaces. The failure of collective bargaining to enhance productivity results in substantially lower profitability among unionized companies. Because unions appropriate not only a portion of monopoly-related profits but also the quasi-rents that make
    up the normal return to long-lived capital, unionized companies reduce investment in vulnerable forms of physical and innovative capital. Investment is further reduced since lower profits reduce the size of the internal pool from which investments are partly financed. Slower growth in capital is mirrored by slower growth in sales and employment (and, thus, union membership). The relatively poor performance of union companies gives credence to the proposition that the restructuring in industrial relations and increased
    resistance to union organizing have been predictable responses on the part of businesses to increased domestic and foreign competition. In the absence of a narrowing in the performance differences between unionized and nonunionized companies, modifications in labor law that substantially enhance union organizing and bargaining strength are likely to reduce economic competitiveness.

    Unions are not a panacea but they perform a vital function in counterbalancing the power of private corporations. That function seems less important in the public sector, but it remains a factor.

    I harbor no illusions about the good faith of corporations or governments but I find that unions are not pristine in the their motivations either and are not always conductive to positive student outcomes.

    *Manipulating the social or political environment in which economic activities occur, rather than by creating new wealth.

  16. nick,

    Do you think that it’s a good thing that schools are becoming more rigid and that teachers are being required to spend valuable class time prepping children for high stakes paper and pencil multiple choice tests is a good thing? Do you believe that will improve education in this country?

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