IG of the Day: How Virginia Education Stacks up Internationally

Percentage of students proficient in mathematics, PISA and NAEP equated.

We know Virginia students score better than average nationally in educational achievement, and we know that United States students garner mediocre scores by international measures. What we really need to know, in a globally competitive knowledge economy, is how well Virginia students rank in international comparisons.

According to the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 18th-edition “Report Card on American Education,” Virginia falls between Austria and Slovakia in educational achievement. I suppose it could be worse. West Virginia students exhibit levels of achievement comparable to Turkey, Mississippi to Uruguay. But, then, the best schools — Massachusetts, Minnesota, Vermont, Kansas, South Dakota — are comparable to top European countries, although they lag the top Asian countries. Obviously, we could do better.

View the report to see Virginia’s report card. ALEC, a conservative think tank, gives Virginia education policy a C-, with a spectacular F for its policies regarding charter schools. Virginia’s state performance ranking, which measures overall 2011 scores for low-income students and their gains and losses on the NAEP test, is a middle-of-the-road 26.


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7 responses to “IG of the Day: How Virginia Education Stacks up Internationally”

  1. all of the countries that beat us – do so with public schools not charter schools so why is that a priority?

    Look where Massachusetts is relative to Virginia and tell me why…..

    there are some reasons why… what are they?

    1. Gee, maybe Massachusetts’ superior performance has something to do with the fact that the state has roughly 95 charter schools compared to Virginia’s four.

  2. Breckinridge Avatar

    Massachusetts also spends a whole lot more money on schools and teachers than Virginia, and probably has more colleges just in Boston than there are in all of Virginia. The educational level of parents is a pretty solid predictor of the educational success by their children. Parents are the most important teachers.

    Six of the top ten on that list being Asian nations could lead to some politically incorrect conclusions. What is the Asian composition of the Massachusetts population, compared with Virginia? Far higher, I bet. And if you break down the Virginia results by region, where is the Asian population highest in Virginia? North of the Occoquan.

    My wife the math teacher will tell you that the Asian parents are demanding and place incredible value on education, far more so than even high-income highly-motivated parents of European background. They want their children “well-rounded.” The Asian parents want their children running the world. It’s not genes, it’s work ethic and priorities.

  3. that’s part of it. Massachusetts also had the first public school system in the country and has universal Pre-K as well as it’s share of people who work in service industries and are not particularly well off.

    Charter schools do not usually figure into NAEP which is how states are compared to other countries – either.

    I’m not opposed to Charter schools – I just think they have to meet the same standards as public schools do.

    Massachusetts also has a Charter School Accountability process and the schools have 5 year renewable charters.

    there is much that Va could learn from Massachusetts as well as those who are opposed to public schools of which Massachusetts and the top countries in the world are predominantly.

    Why does Bacon think Charters are the answer and ignores the Massachusetts public school model?

  4. I’m in favor of Charter (and other alternative) schools that meet the same standards as public education schools in terms of demographics, curricula, assessment, and accountability BECAUSE I support EDUCATION that works and insures that children, no matter the education provider, will receive a 21st century education that will get them a job and make them a taxpayer instead of an entitlement recipient.

    This is UNLIKE many who support charter schools WITHOUT making these same requirements part of their proposal because to me it sounds like they want to use Charter Schools to undermine public schools – which is not about education and kids but ideology – to which I have a dim view of.

    If you want to support charter schools as the basis to provide a more competitive environment for education, to challenge the public schools, and ultimately to benefit kids – and their eventual adulthood, then you need to say that. you need to lay out how that would work and if you go to the Massachusetts website http://www.doe.mass.edu/charter/, you’ll see the commitment to any/all education providers – as long as they meed standards and are held accountable.

    that’s the way it should be done IMHO.

  5. mbaldwin Avatar

    As with so much else, the remedy to Virginia’s poor educational achievement relative to Jefferson’s hopes requires a slew of deficiencies. Charter schools might help, but maybe we might consider pay higher salaries to teachers, smaller classes, a kindergarten program, and maybe even smaller, less centralized schools, inter alia.

    But it’s larryg’s pertinent application of IMHO that enhances this blog. That’s not exactly a value adopted by the ALEC, which might consider the thought for the day by H.L Menken: ” Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.”

  6. mbaldwin Avatar

    that’s “remedies to” deficiencies in the first sentence !

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