It has come to my attention that the United States score lower than other countries on the Program of International Student Assessment (PISA). US students have long underperformed on the tasks in Math and Science that require them to translate real-world situations into mathematical terms or interpreting real-world data scientifically. Many other countries–even much smaller countries with much smaller economies–do much better. The international embarrassment could make one cringe, but, of course, the problem is not the American education system.
The real problem is that the PISA assesses the wrong content: it gives kids crazy tasks like solving real-life Math and Science problems or having them read authentic texts. Who needs to be able to calculate the price of gas for a cross-country trip or to read the nutritional labels on their food? We all know that it is infinitely more important that students can recite all the presidents in order, name all the state capitols, do long division by hand, and write in cursive. Obviously that is what they will need in college and when they join the workforce. No wonder our kids flunk a test that thinks crazy stuff like problem-solving and communication skills will matter in their futures! And isn’t it just like the Chinese to show us up in education, too–haven’t they wreaked enough havoc on the divine order of things by outperforming us economically?
Of course, first we have to clean house and get rid of roadblocks right here at home that are preventing some of our students to learn what is really important. Due to lax legislation, charter schools are currently allowed to betray our nation’s young by teaching them how to live in the 21st century. Computer use and individualized learning are ruining the good ol’ American way of drill-and-kill! There is no question in my mind that charter schools have to go. Next, we have to stop allowing our all of schools to take students on field trips or host guest speakers, those only confuse students with real-life experiences and information. Obviously, project-based learning should have never been allowed: our students’ memorization skills face serious harm when they focus on how to collaborate and problem-solve with others. Luckily, if we look back to the past, we see clearly what we need to do instead of these modern methods: bring back rulers to hit students who do not remember their times tables and bring back the dunce hat to shame kids who have bad hand-writing.
But the problem is one of international importance. Everyone knows that the US is the greatest nation on the planet, so obviously the PISA test needs to be revised to make sure our students adequately outperform their miseducated international peers. It is simply inconceivable that America should rank 27th in anything–education cannot be an exception. We have to change the test, so that it reflects the way American schools teach, which is, by definition, outstanding. I see rooms full of eager students across the world copying lines of text in their best cursive and reciting the names of all US presidents in order. With a proper test, I’d like to see how those other countries rank. I bet Chinese students would not even come close to level of our American kids!
With the right test, we will see the US rank first in every category–as it should be. No doubt, US students will benefit from the changes we make at home and, internationally, we will get our country to Number One, where it belongs. Once the test has been changed, Americans will feel happy that their nation, which was once shamed internationally by misguided teaching criteria, has overcome this arch nemesis. The American education system will be known the world over as the model to look up to and the new PISA will go down in history as the Program of Imitating the Students of America.