PISA And Bad Students—American Schools Add Value, But Demography is Still Destiny

"That speaks
about who is going to be leading tomorrow."

So said
Angel Gurria,
secretary-general of the

 Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development.

`Wake-up call`: U.S. students trail global leaders
MSNBC.com, December 7, 2010]

Every three years, the Paris-based

-based OECD holds its

Programme for International Student Assessment

 (PISA) tests of
the reading, math and science skills of 15-year-olds in
developing and developed countries. Gurria was talking
of the results of the 2009 tests.

Sixty-five nations competed. The

swept the board.

The schools of Shanghai-China
finished first in math, reading and science. Hong
Kong-China was third in math and science. Singapore, a
city-state dominated by overseas Chinese, was second in

, fourth in


Only Korea,

were in the hunt.

And the U.S.A.? America ranked 14th
in reading, 17th in

and 25th in

, producing the familiar quack-quack.

"This is an
wake-up call
for America,"
said Education

Arne Duncan
"We have to face the brutal truth. We have to get much
more serious about investment in education."

But the
"brutal truth"
is that we invest more per pupil than any other country
save Luxembourg, and we are broke. And a closer look at
the PISA scores reveals some unacknowledged truths.

True, East Asians—Chinese,


—are turning in the top scores in all three
categories, followed by the Europeans, Canadians,
Australians and New Zealanders.

But, looking down the New York
Times list of the top 30 nations, one finds not a single

Latin American
nation, not a single African nation,
not a single Muslim nation, not a single South or
Southeast Asian nation (save Singapore), not a single
nation of the old Soviet Union except



And in Europe as in Asia, the
northern countries (Finland, Norway, Belgium, Iceland,
Austria, Germany) outscore the southern (Greece, Italy,
Portugal). Slovenia and Croatia, formerly of the
Habsburg Empire, outperformed Albania and Serbia, which
spent centuries under Turkish rule.

Among the OECD members, the most
developed 34 nations on earth, Mexico, principal feeder
nation for U.S. schools, came in dead last in reading.

of VDARE.com got the full list of 65 nations,
broke down U.S. reading scores by race, then measured
Americans with the countries and continents whence their
families originated. What he found was surprising. [PISA
Scores Show Demography Is Destiny In Education Too—But
Washington Doesn`t Want You To Know
19, 2010]

Asian-Americans outperform all
Asian students except for Shanghai-Chinese.

White Americans outperform students
from all 37 predominantly white nations except Finns,
and U.S. Hispanics outperformed the students of all
eight Latin American countries that participated in the

African-American kids would have
outscored the students of any sub-Saharan African
country that took the test (none did) and did outperform
the only black country to participate,

Trinidad and Tobago,
by 25 points.

America`s public schools, then, are
not abject failures.

They are educating immigrants and
their descendants to outperform the kinfolk their
parents or ancestors left behind when they came to
America. America`s schools are improving the academic
performance of all Americans above what it would have
been had they not come to America.

What American schools are failing
at, despite the trillions

poured into schools
since the

1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act,
closing the

racial divide.

We do not know how to

close the gap
in reading, science and math between

Anglo and Asian students and black and Hispanic s

And from the PISA tests, neither
does any other country on earth.

The gap between the test scores of
East Asian and European nations and those of Latin
America and African nations mirrors the gap between
Asian and white students in the U.S. and black and
Hispanic students in the U.S.

Which brings us to Bad Students, Not Bad Schools

a new book in which

Dr. Robert Weissberg
contends that U.S. educational
experts deliberately
"refuse to
confront the obvious truth."

"America`s educational woes reflect our demographic mix of students.
Today`s schools are filled with millions of youngsters,
many of whom are Hispanic immigrants struggling with
English plus millions of others of mediocre intellectual
ability disdaining academic achievement."

In the


parochial schools
of the 1940s and 1950s, kids were
pushed to the limits of their ability, then pushed
harder. And when they stopped learning, they were pushed
out the door.

Writes Weissberg

"To be grossly politically incorrect, most of America`s educational woes
vanish if these indifferent, troublesome students left
when they had absorbed as much as they were going to
learn and were replaced by learning-hungry students from
Korea, Japan, India, Russia, Africa and the Caribbean."

Weissberg contends that 80 percent
of a school`s success depends on two factors: the
cognitive ability of the child and the

he brings to class—not on texts,
teachers or classroom size.

If the brains and the will to learn
are absent, no amount of spending on schools,
teacher salaries

educational consultants
or new texts will matter.

A nation weary of wasting billions
on unctuous educators who never deliver what they
promise may be ready to hear some hard truths.



Patrick J. Buchanan


no introduction
VDARE.COM readers; his book
of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and
Conquest of America
, can
be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book

is Churchill,
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How
Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost
the World,



Paul Craig Roberts.