It’s tempting to think that we are governed by moral and rhetorical incompetents because we let our standards slip. We’re getting soft. We’re not stern or rigorous enough with our students and our teachers. But that’s too easy. Such a pat explanation fails to address another salient point made in the report.
Educational policy has a strong bearing on the country-to-country differences in the standings. Some countries do a better job at ensuring equitable educational outcomes and at providing consistent opportunities for learning throughout people’s lifetimes, and not merely for a select portion of a population.
For nearly two generations, an elite has been busy remaking our nation into a plutocracy, and part of that project has been the degradation of our public education systems, which have historically been balkanized along race and class lines.
This elite has made war against any policy that aims to produce equality of outcomes. As long as we permit that orthodoxy to prevail, it’s doubtful these OECD studies will bring any glad tidings to the United States.
Mary Sanchez is an opinion-page columnist for The Kansas City Star. Readers may write to her at: Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108-1413, or via email at email@example.com.