Arthur Levine, via a kind Erich Zellmer email:
Parents nationwide are familiar with the wide academic achievement gaps separating American students of different races, family incomes and ZIP Codes. But a second crucial achievement gap receives far less attention. It is the disparity between children in America’s top suburban schools and their peers in the highest-performing school systems elsewhere in the world.
Of the 70 countries tested by the widely used Program for International Student Assessment, the United States falls in the middle of the pack. This is the case even for relatively well-off American students: Of American 15-year-olds with at least one college-educated parent, only 42% are proficient in math, according to a Harvard University study of the PISA results. That is compared with 75% proficiency for all 15-year-olds in Shanghai and 50% for those in Canada.
Compared with big urban centers, America’s affluent suburbs have roughly four times as many students performing at the academic level of their international peers in math. But when American suburbs are compared with two of the top school systems in the world–in Finland and Singapore–very few, such as Evanston, Ill., and Scarsdale, N.Y., outperform the international competition. Most of the other major suburban areas underperform the international competition. That includes the likes of Grosse Point, Mich., Montgomery County, Md., and Greenwich, Conn. And most underperform substantially, according to the Global Report Card database of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.
Related: The Global Report: Compare US School Districts to the World.
2 thoughts on “Arthur Levine – The Suburban Education Gap: The U.S. economy could be $1 trillion a year stronger if Americans only performed at Canada’s level in math”
The amazing truth about PISA scores: USA beats Western Europe, ties with Asia.
Once we correct (even crudely) for demography in the 2009 PISA scores, American students outperform Western Europe by significant margins and tie with Asian students.
Achievement Gap Goes Global! A more likely way of changing the educational experience of students in urban and suburban schools is through online blended learning. With online access, any school classroom can be a portal to the best instruction on the planet. It doesn’t require changing the structure of the school or replacing the faculty. Rather than beat parental swords against the fortified walls of school organization and personnel policies, it would be more productive for parents to advocate for ploughshares: in-school technology and online instructional options. http://www.jfyboston.org/2012/11/achievement-gap-goes-global/
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