Lionel Van Deerlin Professor of Communications and Public Policy,
San Diego State
Posted: March 15, 2011 05:07 PM
Yes, we need to change the education system.
Not because we tested so poorly — again — on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests. Rather, because the world has changed and we are witnessing a new, global, technology-driven, knowledge economy.
Yet, every three years when the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) tests 15-year-olds around the world in math, science and reading, we go crazy with angst and despair and promise to fix the current education system.
Former Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch, an otherwise trustworthy spokesperson, exclaimed: “Our students scored in the middle of the pack! We are not No. 1! Shanghai is No. 1! We are doomed unless we overtake Shanghai!”
The New York Times, also writing about the PISA tests, interviewed U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who said: “We have to see this as a wake-up call … I know skeptics will want to argue with the results, but we consider them to be accurate and reliable, and we have to see them as a challenge to get better,” he added. “The United States came in 23rd or 24th in most subjects. We can quibble, or we can face the brutal truth that we’re being out-educated.”
I guess we need more tests to get our students ready for the next PISA?