Some Inequitable Food for Thought

We are often quick to look at how the United States stacks up to other countries around the world when it comes to educational performance.  We scrutinize PISA and TIMSS numbers.  We ask what Finland and Singapore and Korea have that we don’t.  And some of us even look for positives in a tapestry that often lacks a silver lining.
But some recent studies from OECD provide some important data the education community should be scrutinizing, particularly since it further spotlights the inequities in these here United States and how we continue to slip in some of those international comparisons.
So some inequitable food for thought:
When it comes to income inequality, the United States ranks fifth.  We offer more significant gaps than countries like Spain, Greece, Estonia, and France.  But at least our gap is narrower than those in Mexico and Chile.
In terms of literacy, we again place fifth.  Worse than Austria and the Czech Republic, but better than the Slovak Republic, Mexico, and Sweden.
When it comes to infant mortality rates, only Turkey and Mexico have higher rates than the United States.
We are tops in one category — the percentage of single-parent families.  Estonia and Great Britain (numbers two and three) have their work cut out for them if they want to knock us off the top of the list.
Why do we highlight these numbers, particularly as others are buzzing about declining test scores in New York and the impact of bringing Common Core State Standards online?  Because it is all interconnected.  And its a cryin’ shame that too many folks fail to recognize how income disparities or household structures impact student academic performance.

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