Established in 2006, the Keystone State Education Coalition is a growing grass roots, non-partisan public education advocacy group of several hundred locally elected, volunteer school board members and administrators from school districts throughout Pennsylvania. Our mission is to evaluate, discuss and inform our boards, district constituents and legislators on legislative issues of common interest and to facilitate active engagement in public education advocacy.
FYI - Top scoring countries like Korea, Singapore and Finland are
not pushing vouchers, charter schools and punitive testing.
PISA Director Urges U.S. to Raise Teachers’ Status
New York Times By SAM DILLON,
To improve its public schools,
the United States
should raise the status of the teaching profession by recruiting more qualified
candidates, training them better and paying them more, according to a new
report on comparative educational systems.
Andreas Schleicher, who oversees the international achievement test
known by its acronym Pisa, says in his report that top-scoring countries like Korea, Singapore
recruit only high-performing college graduates for teaching positions, support
them with mentoring and other help in the classroom, and take steps to raise
respect for the profession.
Here’s a posting that addresses Shanghai’s
top score on the PISA
exam; they don’t include the 3 to 4 million poor kids in the testing. That would be like only reporting Masterman
and Central as Philadelphia’s
Despite recent test scores,Chinais not 'eating our lunch'
as in most other Chinese cities, the rural migrant workers that are the true
urban working poor (totaling about 150 million in the country), are not allowed
to send their kids to public high schools in the city. This is engineered by
household registration system, which classifies them as "outsiders."
Those teenagers will have to go back home to continue education, or drop out of
In other words, the city has 3 to 4 million
working poor, but its high-school system conveniently does not need to provide
for the kids of that segment. In essence, the poor kids are purged fromShanghai's
sample of 5,100 students taking the tests
See Mel Riddle’s analysis of the PISA results, PISA
its poverty not stupid". A more accurate assessment of the
performance ofU.S.students would be obtained by
comparing the scores of American schools with comparable poverty rates to those
of other countries.
Schools in theUnited
less than a 10% poverty rate had aPISA score of 551.
When compared to the ten countries with similar poverty numbers, that score
In the next category (poverty rates of 10-24.9%) theU.S.average of 527 placed first out of the
ten comparable nations.
While educators cannot cure poverty, we can recommend strategies that will create a level playing field so that under-resourced students are provided the resources they need to bring them up to par with their middle class counterparts.
1. Early Childhood Education - If we know that children in poverty will arrive at school two to three years behind, why do we wait for the train wreck? "The bipartisan New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce has recommended that public education begin at age 3 for American students. And studies show that the best early childhood programs are staffed by teachers with college degrees and early education certification, offer developmentally appropriate education, include a focus on language development and comprehensive services such as meals and health and developmental screenings and encourage parental involvement."
2. Best Teachers and Principals - Provide incentives for teachers and principals to work in under-resourced schools. The current strategy of "blame and punish" only serves to drive out the most qualified.
3. Funding - Finally, we must acknowledge that it simply costs more to educate some students. We already admit that it costs more to educate special needs and language-learners, why not poor students?
4. Literacy - Reading and writing skills are the great equalizers helping under-resourced students achieve at middle class levels. We know that poor children lack literacy skills, and, therefore, we must provide direct, explicit literacy instruction beginning the day they first arrive at school and every day thereafter.
5. Time - In order to level the playing field, we must provide under-resourced students more time to learn. It's not about ability. These students don't lack ability. They lack resources and supports. Time is the key. If we hold learning time constant, student achievement looks like a bell curve. We need to provide longer school years, after school tutoring and tiered interventions for all students but particularly for children living in poverty.