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[Susan notes: Great line: You want world class standards? You have them.]

Published in New Republic
11/18/2002

To the editor


The November 18, 2002 issue of The New Republic carried Paul E. Peterson's, "The American Literacy Tragedy." It is what one would expect from the Hoover Institution and Harvard. Let's get the record straight.



In 1991-92 the National Science Foundation reported mathematics achievement of 13-year-olds in the United States with performance internationally. Taiwan was tops, followed by Iowa, South Korea, North Dakota and Minnesota. In the top 20 countries and states were 12 U. S. states.



A 1998 study issued by the National Center for Educational Statistics compared 13-year old science students in individual states against each other and other nations. The U.S. had 14 states holding the top 15 places. In that list of top 15 countries and states you find; first place (Maestro, a drum roll please) going to Singapore. Alphabetically, medals would then be awarded to Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming. These are our "run of the mill kids."



Referring to top ranked Singapore, they track, via extensive testing, at the 3rd and 4th grades. The final Die is cast at grade 6 when children are placed in the college preparatory or trade school track. Some Singapore families whose children are not doing well in the Singapore schools send their children to schools in Malaysia and vice versa for top scoring Malaysian children.



Another laudatory note was brought home in an announcement in July of 2001 by the College Board News. American students in physics and calculus who scored well on high school Advanced Placement exams in The United States went on to outperform students in the rest of the world. It showed dramatically that our best are clearly, "at the top of the world in academic achievement" stated Lee Jones, the Executive Director of the College Board's Advanced Placement Program. Indeed Advanced Placement courses definitely illustrate that highly effective instruction is taking place in our high schools.



You want "world class" standards? Well, you have them.



Dr. Donald C. Orlich

Professor Emeritus, Science Mathematics Engineering Education Center

Washington State University, Pullman



(References, in order of appearance in text for editorial files)



Suter, Larry, E., Editor. Indicators of Science and Mathematics Education 1995.

Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation, 1996, (NSF 96-52).



U. S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Linking the

National Assessment of Educational Progress and the Third International Mathematics and Science Study: Eighth Grade Results. Eugene G. Johnson and Adriane Siegendorf. Project Officer, Gary W. Phillips. Washington, DC: GPO, May 1998, NCES 98-500.



"AP Students with a '3 or Higher' Outperform Advanced Math and Physics Students both in U.S. and Abroad." (July 11, 2001). New York: The College Board, News 2000-

2001. Full report: E. J. Gonzalez, K. M. O'Connor, J. A. Miles. (June 2001)

How well do Advanced Placement Students Perform on the TIMSS Advanced Mathematics and Physics Tests? Boston: The International Study Center, Lynch School of Education, Boston College.



Bracey, Gerald, W. "Are U. S. Students Behind?" The American Prospect, Issue 37,

March-April 1998, 64-70.

Don Orlich


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