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Home » Press Releases » Heading Back to School, U.S. Students Face Continued Crisis

Heading Back to School, U.S. Students Face Continued Crisis

CER Press Release
Washington, DC
August 25, 2009

As students all over the country head back to school this year, what is their likelihood of succeeding? A quick look at four recent indicators of school success – and attitudes surrounding it – are cause for concern:

Lagging Internationally – The U.S. still trails other countries in international comparisons. In reading, students in Italy, Hungary, Russia and Hong Kong outperformed U.S. fourth grade students, who remain in the lower quarter among all participating countries. Math scores, while improving, have not caught up with Asian countries, and U.S. 15 year olds are less successful in applying their skills than students in most other OECD countries.

Lagging at home – ACT scores for the last year of test takers have not changed either, with only 23% of students who take the test meeting standards in all 4 subjects tested. A nearly 5-point gap remains between whites and blacks, whose college readiness stands at 4%. SAT scores, released today, will tell a similar story.

Americans’ attitudes – Ongoing poll results show that most Americans know very little about the problems plaguing their own schools, and those of the nation as a whole, and show even less understanding of common sense reforms that can help fix the problem. The new PDK/Gallup poll due out tomorrow is expected to show that while increasing numbers of Americans support education reforms, they still believe the problems are largely in someone else’s community.

As Americans fight the continued economic crisis and try to bolster their country’s competitive edge, the educational crisis that persists threatens both.