BELOW AVERAGE: US Education Rankings Fall

We need to do our homework, MAMAs. Our KID-Os are missing the mark, so we need to be sure they know their three Rs. The OECD Programme for International Student Assesment’s report ranks the U.S. at 14th out of 34 countries in reading, 17th for science and  25th for mathematics. The report compares 15 year olds students’ knowledge in 70 countries in the world. Scarily, our nation ranks third from the lowest in the percentage of 15 year olds enrolled in school (above Mexico and Turkey)?! What? We are allowing the 15 year olds in our country to do what instead of going to school – work the family farm?  I think not.

The President asks that we not cut education spending despite the poor economy.  That’s super, but only part of the ginormous problem (the other problem is that ginormous isn’t even a word), but the effects of poor education practices…standards, fill in whatever word you want to call it – it’s all semantics really… began long before the economic downturn…and has a range of reasons from money to quality…of teachers, of principles, of school boards, of facilities, of parental involvement. But, this we know for sure, the long- term effects of an undereducated generation has economic repercussions.  It is an investment in the future.  And, right now, our stocks are at an all time low. Why? The first place states cut budgets is in education, and yes, yes, yes, teachers don’t get paid much, so it’s hard to find quality professionals that are going to give their life, passions and energy into a profession that won’t allow them to provide for their family.  We treat teaching like a second rate profession, while countries like Singapore deem it the highest honor.

Think of it this way…if our kids’ scores go up in math, reading and science, it would earn us 41 trillion more dollars over the next generation’s lifetime, according to the OECD.  If we could equal the performance of the top ranking OECD nation, Finland, it could mean a $103 trillion gain for the United States.  That’s a blue chip investment strategy.

Apparently, other nations know they need to “educate their way to success.” Emerging nations like India and China, whose economies are growing, have more resources going to educating their children than we do.  So, this a problem of funding and philosophy.  As a nation, we need to get our priorities straight. What value do we put on a good education MAMAs?  The philosophical change begins with us…at home, and with us, making sure our kids’ schools are hitting their marks and our kids are getting good ones, as well.  Our kids’ education must be a national priority.  If we believe in US exceptionalism, then we must actually be exceptional, not average.

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