The USA is a lot of the times seen as a nation that has it all. You would think it would be a country that is close to the top of the charts in mostly everything. So, how is US education compared to other countries? Well, studies show it is mediocre compared to the rest of the world. This may or may not come as a shock to you. Testing results show that we are falling behind many educational powerhouses, such as Finland and Korea. What is it that we struggle on? What are the best and worst states in the USA?
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), is a test were half a million 15 year olds around the world, take a test every 3 years to show how their nation is doing. It tests them on reading, mathematics, and science. As of recently the test has shown that our score in math has gone down. Our score is below the PISA math mean, and it ranks us 16th, out of the 34 OECD countries. The test also shows that we have the biggest gap in between high performing students and low performing students. While Finland, has the smallest gap and is the smartest country.
In the United States, the states with the best education mostly are in the Eastern part of the country, with the top 5 states. The number one state being Massachusetts. Massachusetts, is the state with the best school system, in all of the US. There is a 87.3% high school graduation rate. Students there have the number 1 reading and mathematics scores across the country. Some students are even top performers globally, according to the 2012 PISA exam, where they performed individually instead of with the whole US. They ranked near Shanghai, Singapore, and Hong Kong in the reading literacy exam. The state has the 3rd highest preschool enrollment, which is proven to help build cognitive skills at a young age. The high scores may be due to the well developed childhood education system.
Another reason that Massachusetts excels in education, doesn’t have to do with the school systems. It is proven that children that grow up in Massachusetts have a better chance of growing up in a financially stable enviroment. Children that don’t have this, and that grow up in poverty, face more challenges that usually get in the way of educational achievement. Also, in Massachusetts 61.7% of children have at least one parent that has a post-secondary degree. Children with educated parents are more likely to do better in school. These are things that put Massachusetts ahead of the rest, that doesn’t have to do with the education system.
The state that is usually ranked last is Nevada. They have the 2nd lowest high school graduation rate, of 71.3%. Some say that a reason why the school system is doing so bad in Nevada, is the preschool enrollment rate. A high preschool enrollment is a sign of a healthy education system, and it benefits both family and child. Only ⅓ of Nevada’s eligible children are enrolled in preschool. This is the second lowest proportion. They also don’t provide enough money to schools that have a high population of low income students, and students that are learning english. This is something the state is trying to change.
These statistics, show the stark contrast between the highs and lows of the United states education. The United States needs to pay better attention to its education systems, so every state can excel like Massachusetts does.