U.S. vs. International Students

By Jim Hull

If you believe everything critics claim about our public schools, you’d think our children would be better off going to school in a third-world country.

Yet, if you actually looked at the data, you’d see this is far from the case. While it is true U.S. 15-year-olds rank 24th in the world in math and 19th in science, these results are the exception rather than the rule when it comes to international comparisons. U.S. students fare much better on almost every other international comparison of student achievement.

Unfortunately, a number of education experts and organizations all too often cherry-pick the least flattering data from a litany of international comparisons in order to advance their own agendas. But when you look at international assessments as a whole, you clearly see areas where U.S. students excel, along with areas with a clear need for improvement. While those comparisons in which the U.S. falls short get the majority of attention, here are areas of success that typically do not get the same focus.

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