A stadium full of people chanting “We’re number one!” sounds a lot better than “we’re average.” But when it comes to ranking our education system with those of 64 other countries and economies, that’s the unpleasant truth, according to a new global study from the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, which was released this week.
It measured student achievement in reading, science and math. We’re in the middle, along with countries like Norway, Germany and the U.K., while countries like Singapore and China are speeding ahead of us. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is calling this a “wake-up call” and President Obama has said that this should be our generation’s “Sputnik moment.” And if you don’t know what a Sputnik moment means, you probably wouldn’t rank well in American history, either.
How can educators make this a moment when America resolves to improve its academic standing in the world, lest we be overtaken by competitors? To get some answers, Need to Know’s Jon Meacham sat down with Thomas Hatch, an associate professor of education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. He is also co-director of the National Center for Restructuring Education, schools, and teaching.