Lots of chatter about the PISA results, Kevin Huffman saves you a lot of time here.

2 Replies to “Shanghaied!”

  1. Average score, reading literacy, PISA, 2009:
    [United States, Asian students 541]
    Korea 539
    Finland 536
    [United States, white students 525]
    Canada 524
    New Zealand 521
    Japan 520
    Australia 515
    Netherlands 508
    Belgium 506
    Norway 503
    Estonia 501
    Switzerland 501
    Poland 500
    Iceland 500
    United States (overall) 500
    Sweden 497
    Germany 497
    Ireland 496
    France 496
    Denmark 495
    United Kingdom 494
    Hungary 494
    OECD average 493
    Portugal 489
    Italy 486
    Slovenia 483
    Greece 483
    Spain 481
    Czech Republic 478
    Slovak Republic 477
    Israel 474
    Luxembourg 472
    Austria 470
    [United States, Hispanic students 466]
    Turkey 464
    Chile 449
    [United States, black students 441]
    Mexico 425

  2. “… the contrast of the U.S. scores with Shanghai’s is not totally appropriate: It is comparing the entire U.S. population — including many who are on free or reduced-price lunches — with China’s cream of the crop, the Shanghai kids.

    Even more important, but far less-known, is that in Shanghai, as in most other Chinese cities, the rural migrant workers that are the true urban working poor (totaling about 150 million in the country), are not allowed to send their kids to public high schools in the city. This is engineered by the discriminatory hukou or household registration system, which classifies them as “outsiders.” Those teenagers will have to go back home to continue education, or drop out of school altogether.

    In other words, the city has 3 to 4 million working poor, but its high-school system conveniently does not need to provide for the kids of that segment. In essence, the poor kids are purged from Shanghai’s sample of 5,100 students taking the tests. The Shanghai sample is the extract of China’s extract. A fairer play would be to ask kids at [Alice Deal, Lafayette, Sidwell Friends, NCS, or St. Alban’s*] to race against Shanghai’s kids.”

    Don’t let the facts get in your way of your narrative.

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