NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More Math And Science Scores

December 18, 1996

Americans are spending more to educate their children than citizens in almost every other nation in the world, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But the educational attainment of American students is mediocre compared to those of other developed nations.

Here are the results from the recently released Third International Mathematics and Science Study:

  • American eighth-graders scored 28th out of 41 countries in math proficiency -- well behind students in such countries as the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovenia, the Russian Federation, Thailand, Israel, Norway and Ireland.
  • In science, they placed 17th -- behind students in much more frugal South Korean schools.

Nevertheless, fully 87 percent of American students see themselves as "usually doing well in mathematics."

While Americans are spending more, the money is not always used efficiently. A study by Fordham University's Bruce Cooper found that only 52 percent of every education dollar gets to the classroom in large school districts.

Consequently, growing numbers of parents and professionals agree that education in America must be placed on a competitive basis, and that states must permit charter and voucher schools to operate. The time is past, they say, for tinkering with far-out educational theories. Only radical and fundamental change through privatization can redirect the present downward trajectory of American education.

Source: Editorial, "Paying for Failure," Investor's Business Daily, December 18, 1996.


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