The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has published the largest ever global school rankings and Asian school systems make up the top 5 places:
2. Hong Kong
28. United States
The report notes once again the poor performance of the United States, slipping behind successful European countries and being overtaken by Vietnam. The US’s sustained decline in educational performance raises questions about its educational system compared with those of the highest performing countries.
Two US school systems, Pinellas County Schools (PCS) (FL) and St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) (MN), may illustrate why the US system is not progressing, particularly when compared with a well performing system, the Ontario (CN) School System.
Both US school districts are embroiled in controversy secondary to racial discrimination: ‘Failure Factories‘ documents the changes in 5 Pinellas County elementary schools following discontinuation of busing in 2007.
St. Paul Public Schools (MN) (SPPS) Superintendent Valeria Silva’s focus on establishing racial-equity as the primary driver for closing St. Paul schools’ ‘opportunity gap,’
“…first, a push to return students with behavioral challenges to mainstream classes and keep them there; and, second, a push to expose every adult in the system to training on white privilege and its impact on the classroom…”
…is indeed a tectonic shift in the way we think about and confront the role of race in the classroom. But the implementation of Silva’s policies seems to be rubbing some people the wrong way, causing rifts among the teachers, administration and parents, and sending out shock waves that threaten to undo what Silva has accomplished.
Ontario has become one of the world’s best school systems since inauguration of its improvement initiative in 2003.
To evaluate, compare and contrast, to judge the respective educational systems, a set of standards will be developed. That will be the subject of the next post.