Apples, Oranges, and Scores on Standardized Tests

I wrote a few weeks ago about the Public Service Announcement from Strong American Schools that exonerates U.S. schools for their role in the migration of  “good jobs” to countries with “the best schools”, such as Finland and South Korea.

One need go no further than today’s NYT to be reminded that simplistic comparisons of test scores tell us only a part of the story.  South Korea — with its tradition of cram schools in which students are subjected to drills  for 18 hours a day,  where suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 10-19, where life choices are seriously constrained by  scores on a single exam and where, consequently,  private spending on education is exceptionally high– does indeed produce higher average test scores than the U.S.

So, uhm,  what exactly is it that Strong American Schools people would have educators in U.S. schools learn from South Korean schools?

Especially about underfunded public schools that leave behind exactly the children whose parents are faltering in the stratified U.S. economy?

5 thoughts on “Apples, Oranges, and Scores on Standardized Tests

  1. billbillups September 2, 2008 / 6:10 pm

    I think it is very sad that schools across the country are subject to that type of pressure. American schools do just fine especially under the economic downslide that is happening right now.

  2. Rufus September 3, 2008 / 7:29 am

    The strenuous pressure American schools are under to compete with other countries is amazing, yet so many of the negative effects of placing such pressure on school children at any age are evident. So the question would likely be why would we do this to our students? Yes, an effort should be made to push our students, definitively, but only to a certain extent.

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