One of the frustrations when speaking to parents about the need for education reform and school choice is the willful denial and/or ignorance of so many parents.  Here is a typical conversation with a parent:

Parent: “I know there are a lot of bad schools, but my child is in a great school.” 

TNSC: “Really, do you know how where that district is ranked?”  [Followed by statistics]

Parent: “Wow!  No I didn’t know that, but our school is great.”

TNSC: “Actually…”  [Followed by statistics]

Parent: “Well, my child makes good grades.”

TNSC: “Compared to what?  In the 2009 SAT Scores Tennessee students rank 38th in critical reading, 36th in mathematics & 42nd in writing; Tennessee’s composite ACT score ranks it fourth from the bottom of the nation; then as if that isn’t bad enough, the United States ranks 14th in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in mathematics.

Parent: “Yes, but it is a safe, clean and convenient school.”

As if the purpose of sending our children to school isn’t to prepare them to compete in a vastly changing global market, but just a daycare – somewhere “safe, clean and convenient” to park the kids while the parents are at work.  Sorry.  Is our frustration showing?

Enter, The Global Report Card’s interactive web site by our favorite education researcher and reform advocate, Dr. Jay P. Greene along with Josh B. McGee as part of the George W. Bush Institute’s Education Reform Initiative.  At this site visitors can compare student achievement in math and reading in virtually every one of the nearly 14,000 public school districts in the United States…here’s the clincher…to students overseas.  Think your student is ready to compete in college and in the global marketplace?  Check out their school district against their global students.

Green and McGee have written an article for Education Next which “shows, suburban public school districts may look good when compared against their urban neighbors, but when compared with students in 25 other developed countries many affluent suburbs barely keep pace.  That is, our best is often mediocre.”  It is available to read in full Here.

Dr. Greene also writes about this in his blog which is available to read Here.  Below is a video interview with Dr. Greene discussing the Global Report Card.


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