GOOD

Debunking Education Myths: America's Never Been Number One in Math

China getting the top spot on the PISA tests created a panic over America's fall from academic grace. But our scores are actually improving.


Has America really fallen behind the rest of the world in academic achievement? According to a new report from the nonprofit Brookings Institution, all the doom-and-gloom commentary suggesting that we've fallen from the top spot simply isn't true. And, even more surprising, America's results are actually on the rise.

National panic ensued last December when data from the Program for International Student Assessment tests revealed our less than stellar international math results. Even worse, high schoolers from our competitor du jour, China, scored the top spot. But the report's author, Tom Loveless, writes that, "The United States never led the world. It was never number one and has never been close to number one on international math tests. Or on science tests, for that matter."


Back in 1964, American 13-year-olds took the First International Math Study and ended up ranking in 11th place. Considering that only 12 nations participated, including Australia, Finland, and Japan, our next-to-last performance was pretty abysmal. Other international tests American students have taken over the years have also never showed that we were in the top spot. It's a myth that we've fallen from our glory days.

American students first took the PISA, which is administered every three years, in 2000. The United States has always scored in the middle of the pack, meaning, as Loveless told Education Week, "We once were terrible and now we're mediocre. I think that's a more accurate description, but we've never had scores that we should be proud of."

Indeed, we shouldn't be proud of our mediocrity, but there is a silver lining in the results: Between the 2006 and 2009 PISA tests, our scores "increased 5 points in reading, 13 points in math, and 13 points in science." Loveless says in his report that this improvement was strangely ignored by the media, politicians, and the education reform chattering class, but it's a notable increase because, according to a researcher from Stanford University, Eric Hanushek,

"an increase of 25 points on PISA over the next 20 years would boost United States GDP by $41 trillion. If the gains from 2006 to 2009 are duplicated when the PISA is next given in 2012, the goal of making 25-point gains in math and science will be met far ahead of schedule."

What about the rankings of our Sputnik 2011 competitor, China? The report notes that China hasn't participated in other international assessments, so a holistic picture of their true academic performance is unknown.

photo (cc) by Flickr user MforMarcus

Articles
Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

Keep Reading Show less
Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

This election cycle, six women threw their hat in the ring for president, but is their gender holding them back? Would Americans feel comfortable with a woman leading the free world? Based on the last election, the answer is a swift no. And a new study backs this up. The study found that only 49% of American men would feel very comfortable with a woman serving as the head of the government. By comparison, 59% of women said they would feel comfortable with a woman in charge.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which measures attitude towards women leaders, evaluated the attitudes of those living in the G7 countries as well as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. 22,000 adults in those 11 countries were surveyed on their attitudes about female leadership in 22 different sectors, including government, fashion, technology, media, banking and finance, education, and childcare.

Only two countries, Canada and the U.K., had a majority of respondents say they would be more comfortable with a female head of state. Germany (which currently has a female Chancellor), Japan, and Russia were the countries least comfortable with a female head of state.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.

Culture