US Schools Versus the World

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Keith Ballard, Teacher and Author of “Stealing from the World’s Best Schools” came to talk about how US schools compare to those around the world.

Ballard has visited 170 K-12 schools around the world to see why students in two dozen other countries, from China to Canada, continue to outperform American students in math, science, and reading. He has written a book about his experience and what he learned he says can help schools reverse this trend.

When students return to school later this summer, 15-year-olds across the United States and in more than 80 countries around the world will take the 2022 Program for International Student Assessment or PISA test. When the test was last given, in 2018, 22 other countries outperformed American students in science, 35 countries outperformed American students in math and 20 countries did better than the U.S. in reading. We have scored in a similar spot, solidly in the middle of the pack, since the first PISA exam was administered two decades ago.

Ballard says, “If you average our scores, math reading and science, we are about number 25 in the world. And China is first in math, reading and science. So that is our greatest competitor and that is what they are doing.”

According to Ballard, the PISA test is a “very special test” and measures what you learn and also how you are able to apply what you know.

He said that in other places, the emphasis put on the teacher is more extreme.

In other countries, Ballard says that kids still want to come to America for school, particularly secondary school. “It is the K through 12 system that we have gotten so wrong,” he said.

He said that beside paying teachers more, more support for teachers are needed. In other countries, more people want to be teachers.

Keith Ballard, Teacher & Author

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