Obama & Education


Jonathan Alter

Jonathan Alter

Great article by Jonathan Alter of Newsweek on Obama and Education.  Now is the time for Obama to step up further and be a champion of education.   McCain and the Republicans already are the champions of educational results.  Democrats, sadly, have been the champions of the teachers.

The United States now ranks 25th among 30 industrialized countries in math. “If I told you your basketball team finished in 25th place, you’d be outraged,” says former West Virginia governor Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education. When the landmark “A Nation at Risk” report was issued 25 years ago, the education system was ailing, but the United States was still No. 1 in college-graduation rates. Now we are No. 21. “We simply have not progressed,” says former Colorado governor Roy Romer, who heads a commission that recently updated the report. “The rest of the world has.” For example, the average European nation has 13 more school days than we do.

I’m looking for the data behind that claim and found the following, which is dated 1997. Anyone with current data please let me know.  Alter’s article assumes pretty much the same answer as shown in the graph below.

TIMSS 1997

Source: TIMSS 1997


One Response to “Obama & Education”

  1. Patsy Wang-Iverson Says:

    The data quoted come from TIMSS (Third International Mathematics and Science Study) 1995. In 1999, TIMSS-R was conducted at grade 8 only. In 2003, the T was changed to Trends, as the study will be conducted every four years. TIMSS2007 data will be released December 2008.

    TIMSS is more than a horserace; there are far richer data from the studies than just the rankings. Because the number and composition of countries have changed from year to year, it is not valid to look only at ranking.

    For all the reports, go to http://www.timss.org

    Best regards,

    Patsy Wang-Iverson

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