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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."

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Justin Bieber Will Be a Man Before America's Jobs Return

A study from the Brookings Institution anticipates more than a decade of jobs struggling before we return to pre-recession levels.


America added 103,000 jobs in December, dropping the unemployment rate from 9.8 percent to a slightly less dismal 9.4 percent. But don't think that means the nation's job market isn't going to be floundering for a very, very long time.

According to new data from the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project, even if America added 208,000 jobs a month starting now, our job market still wouldn't look as it did pre-recession until 2022, more than a decade from now. In order to level out by 2012, we would have to add nearly half a million jobs per month. Here you should remember that, in March 2010, the White House predicted a job growth monthly average of 200,000 for 2011 and 250,000 for 2012.

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The back-and-forth between the Brookings Institution and the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) continues, in the wake of a report from the former that questioned the impact the latter had on student achievement.

After the Brooking's study was initially released—and education reporters stood gobsmacked that anything or anyone would dare speak anything less than reverentially about the HCZ—Geoffrey Canada, the man behind the HCZ, struck back. Canada characterized the study as "wrong-headed" and quibbled with its methodology, such as its inclusion of only test scores of its first charter school Promise Academy I (while ignoring the newer Promise Academy II).

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