Children of Blair are overtaken by Ireland
Today’s release of international educational standards league tables was profoundly depressing for any Brit. Standards have fallen very slightly in maths and reading. Stagnation has occurred despite extra spending, reform, re-education.
Other countries are improving their standards. I spotted that Ireland has now overtaken the UK (by a modest amount) on maths (591-494), reading (523 – 499) and science (522- 514). If you are an idiot who makes Irish jokes, well the graph below shows the joke is now on you. Poland (518, 518, 526) too. We are going backwards, relatively.
Meanwhile the east Asian countries are absolutely motoring ahead, with the existing gap opening up even further. This challenge goes well beyond education policy, teachers’ unions, per capita spending, grammar schools, free schools etc.
Differences in these types of tables are decades in the making. But this comparison does not reflect well on Blair’s promise for “education education education” at the heart of his new Labour government (and don’t forget the Blair government failed to make the Pisa assessment in 2003). These, after all, were the results of children born in 1997.
These numbers, compiled by the OECD Pisa survey, are partly a reflection of clear differences in educational values between different nations. As a nation we undervalue education, perhaps not of our own children, but of other people’s. The constant diet of media moronification does not help. Yes, there are statistical issues with Pisa, but the relative direction of travel is abundantly clear.
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