U.S. Schools Fail to Compete on World Stage

By Keyton Kosek, Special to MacIver News Service | December 18, 2012

[Madison, Wisc…] The George W. Bush Institute has created a Global Report Card 2.0 (GRC) that compares test scores of 14,000 U.S. school districts to the average performance of schools in 25 other countries, including Australia, Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK.

Surprisingly, many of the top ranking school districts in the U.S. are only average performers when compared to schools in other developed countries. The GRC 2.0 finds that kids in the U.S. are not being prepared as well as they should be in order to compete in the global marketplace. In Wisconsin, our kids are generally falling behind the rest of the world.

In Wisconsin, the Madison-Metro School District ranked in the 44th percentile compared to schools around the world. This means the average student in the Madison School District would perform better than only 44% of international students. For example, when comparing Madison to Finland specifically, math and reading scores would both be the equivalent of the 29% percentile. Hence, 71 percent of students in Finland would perform better than their average Madison counterpart.

Milwaukee’s scores are even worse. Math test scores from 2009 score at the 18% percentile and reading comes in at 25% internationally. When these scores are compared to those in Singapore, Milwaukee students rank in the ninth percentile in math and 19th percentile in reading.

Unfortunately, a similar trend occurred throughout the state. Students from Racine Unified School District rank 28% in math and 34% in reading, compared to the rest of the world, and those from the Green Bay School District scored 45% in math and 41% in reading. Wisconsin’s largest school districts consistently failed to keep up with their international counterparts, a frightening statistic for future generations.

To compare any U.S. school district’s performance to international academic achievement, the results of the GRC 2.0 can be found at here.