Celebrating American education
American Education Week was Nov. 12-18. In celebration of the event, may I present some information for your attention?
Are American schools doing a pretty good job of educating America's kids? Of course they are.
- Today's youth are smarter than their parents and grandparents; seven IQ points higher than the parents, and 14 points higher than their grandparents.
- There are seven times as many students above the gifted cutoff of 130 IQ and 18 times as many students above 145 IQ. Advanced Placement takers increased 255% from 1978 to 1990.
- SAT scores for White-Americans, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native-Americans, Mexican-Americans, and Puerto Rican-Americans from 1975 to 1990 are all up.
- Educational Testing Service, developers of the SAT, says today's test is more difficult than in 1975. It takes a higher score now to hit the 50th percentile rank in every major assessment, including the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS) and the Metropolitan Achievement Test (MAT).
- States which spend more for education have, on average, 11 times as many students taking the SAT. Money does translate into a better education.
- The U.S. has two or three times more people per 100,000 population enrolled in higher education than most other industrialized countries. In dollars spent for K-12 education, we rank ninth out of 16 industrial nations, spending 14% less than Germany, 30% less than Japan and 51% less than Switzerland. In terms of percent of per-capita income spent on education, the U.S. is 14th among 16 industrialized nations.
- In the first International Assessment of Educational Achievement, we learn that the average performance of 75% of American students was compared with average scores of the top 9% of West German students, the top 13% of Dutch and the top 45% of Swedish students.
Given that larger sampling, American students did quite well.
Are there things that could be done better in American schools? Of course there are.
Will our current system and philosophy of education serve us well in the 21st century? Possibly not, but then teachers have been saying as much for years.
Changes are on the way. While they're coming, let's celebrate what we've accomplished so far!
Kenneth Mortland, Bothell