Public education getting better, not worse

Catherine Rampell writes:

“Data from the annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll, a survey about education: Over the past four decades, respondents have become increasingly likely to say that today’s students receive a “worse education” than they themselves did.

But it’s not clear that any of this is true, at least at the national level.

Few consistent tools are available to measure the quality of U.S. education over time; the best we have is probably the National Assessment of Educational Progress test, first administered in 1971. And believe it or not, NAEP scores have been steadily improving, with most national measures now at or around all-time highs. The biggest gains have generally gone to nonwhite students, helping narrow — though not eliminate — the achievement gap. Other metrics, too, suggest that schools are improving.Dropout rates are at record lows, and the share of high school students who take higher-level courses such as calculus has risen.”

Why is this?

Rampell argues that heavy media criticism and “misplaced nostalgia” around one’s own schooling are partially to blame. She also suggests that the need for college education in today’s marketplace is conflated with a lack of preparation by K-12 institutions. All interesting notions.

Read the entire post here.