The U.S. needs to recruit and retain better teachers and raise the status of the teaching profession if it’s going to catch up with educational leaders like Finland, Canada and South Korea, according to a new report that draws on the much-talked-about PISA comparisons of educational outcomes.
The report, “Lessons from PISA: What the U.S. Can Learn from the World’s Most Successful Education Reform Efforts,” comes from the McGraw-Hill Research Foundation. Authors are Andreas Schleicher, the director of PISA (the Program for International Student Assessment), and Steven L. Paine, a McGraw-Hill vice president and former West Virginia state school superintendent.
“The most important lesson the U.S. can take from the countries that have been most successful in achieving high PISA scores for their students is to begin investing in the preparation and development of high-quality teachers, while at the same time taking steps to elevate the status of the entire profession to a higher level of respect and regard,” the report says.
But how exactly do we do that? That’s where the debate gets difficult.
PISA, a project of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, assesses the test performance of 15-year-olds in dozens of countries every three years. When the latest PISA results came out in December 2010, media reports focused on the rankings – in particular, the fact that the U.S. was in the middle of the pack in reading and science and below average in math.
But PISA produces a ton of data and extensive reports on how nations compare in a variety of educational outcomes and what can be learned from the top-performing countries. Continue reading