To the Editor:
After seeing the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, scores in “Global Test Shows U.S. Stagnating” (Dec. 11, 2013), I was both disheartened and encouraged.
It’s disheartening to see a country that at one time put men on the moon score below the international average in math and average in science and reading, as measured by the 2012 PISA. This is especially disheartening living in Louisiana where our 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress results show that 77 percent of our 4th graders and 76 percent of our 8th graders are unable to proficiently read at grade level.
On the other hand, it is encouraging to see that there are states, such as Massachusetts, that are doing well. Unfortunately, we can’t all live in Massachusetts. But what we can do is learn from each other.
While the No Child Left Behind Act encouraged individuality among states, it resulted in division and isolation between them. It’s time for the United States to be more “united.”
Students are expected to learn cooperatively and collaboratively; however, our education system has failed to model this way of learning. Although U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan feels that there’s much to learn from other countries, there’s also much to learn from states in our own backyard.
A great lesson I learned from my favorite movie, “The Wizard of Oz,” is that if we look within ourselves, we’ll realize that we’ve had the qualities, strengths, and intelligence for which we’ve searched all along. Somewhere along the path, U.S. education has lost its way. Hopefully, the Common Core State Standards will serve as our yellow brick road to the greatness we’ve always had.
There really is no place like home.
Public Engagement Director
Center for Development and Learning
A version of this article appeared in the January 22, 2014 edition of Education Week as Common Core Will Improve Cooperation, Collaboration