American educators received a wake-up call today when it was revealed that students in Shanghai rank number one globally in reading, math and science, far outpacing their American peers. Despite modest gains in math and science, the U.S. continues to lag behind other developed countries.
A report out today, “Highlights From PISA 2009: Performance of U.S. 15-Year-Old Students in Reading, Mathematics, and Science Literacy in an International Context,” shows the U.S. now ranks 25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading out of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.
While OECD countries such as Finland, South Korea, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and New Zealand continue to outpace the U.S. in reading, science and math, all eyes are on China. In its first year to be included in the study as a non-OECD education system, Shanghai ranked first in all three categories. Hong Kong came in second in reading and science and third in math.
“The 2009 PISA data demonstrate the rise in the quality of education in Asia – among the top performers were Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Korea,” said Tony Jackson, Vice President of Education at the Asia Society. “Aligning education goals to economic development, Asian nations have scoured the world for models of effective education systems, and implemented them consistently through deliberate policies and long-term investments. Any definition of a world-class education must include knowledge of Asia and the language and cultural skills to deal with Asia. It’s a two-way street: America must now learn from – and with – Asia and the world.”
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the findings, “to be brutally honest, show that a host of developed nations are out-educating us.”