The pros and cons of U.S. education

“If these numbers are not that dismal … then policy can be more accurately focused and less reactionary,” said one reader.

As President Obama enters his second term, his education policies are sure to be in the spotlight again soon.

But are international tests, which help to influence education policies in the U.S., as accurate as we thought? And what, if anything, can we learn from other countries?

A report from the Economic Policy Institute suggests that well-respected international tests have misranked the achievement of U.S. students, meaning federal and state leaders have based their education policies on misleading data.

And in a recent column, Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA), discussed his trip to Russia to learn more about education in that nation. Though Russian students generally appear more disciplined and “full of rote knowledge that comes in handy when being tested,” Domenech notes that “they lack the independent thinking and creativity that is a hallmark of our system of education.”

Both stories have prompted tremendous response from readers, who have expressed their own opinions about the strengths and challenges of U.S. education. Here’s a roundup of what readers have had to say—from what the U.S. can learn from Russia to the implications of EPI’s report.

(Next page: Comparing U.S. education with that of other countries)

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Meris Stansbury

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