A reader sent this thoughtful article by Ben Levin. I was pleased because I too have been musing about Canada’s high ranking on the international PISA test. Canada significantly out performs the U.S. in math, science and reading.
I looked for reasons–Canada has a strict immigration policy based on skill levels of applicants. Canada has a lower poverty rate. These things are true, but according to Politico, if you use scores only from white U.S. citizens, Canada still outperforms the U.S. fifteen year old students. To make it to the top of the score scale, the U.S. can only use schools with less than ten percent enrolled from families living in poverty. Even in those schools, math scores would only be ranked 8th, but reading and science would be second to Shanghai.
Florida paid to get its own PISA scores. The results were surprisingly low. Our students were well below the U.S. average PISA scores in science and math and just average in reading. As a leading proponent for school reform, this is not good news for Florida.
The U.S. has the largest income gap in the world. Depending upon how it is measured, however, basic living conditions for the poor in the U.S. are not worse than in other developed countries. Yet, PISA scores have gone up in many countries, ours remain stagnant.
In the following article, Ben Levin compares U.S. and Canadian educational systems and finds some similarities and four very real differences. Perhaps we can learn from our northern neighbors. How uneven is the funding for U.S. schools? How uneven is the quality? This has to be a serious concern. There are lawsuits over equity and funding all over the U.S., and yes, in Florida.