Instead of Racing to Tops or Not Leaving Children Behind, Why Don’t We Just Clone What Massachusetts Has Done?

The 2011 TIMMS international scholastic test results are out (I’ve written about TIMMS results before). I’ll have more to say about the results later–the Alabama-Massachusetts comparisons, my favorite*, are devastating. But, as a first pass, it’s worth noting that, once again, Massachusetts kicks ass:

MassTIMMS2011Math

And science:

MassTIMMS2011Science

Instead of constantly enacting new, unproven educational initiatives–No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Put Your Right Foot In, Put Your Right Foot Out, Do the Hokey Pokey and Shake It All About–why don’t we just copy what Massachusetts has done? Because it works. As a citizen of the Commonwealth, I invite you to steal from us. Instead, we are trying a bunch of untested ideas, some which are the opposite of what Massachusetts has done (e.g., lots of charter schools, weakening teachers unions).

My approach, at least in temperament, is conservative. It works. Could it work better? Sure. But instead of reinventing the wheel–when it will most likely be square–let’s adopt what Massachusetts has done. After all, if the entire U.S. performed like Massachusetts, that would be a really good thing–we would have, across the board, one of the best educational systems in the world.

*Not because I like bashing Alabama, but because state-to-state variation, even when you control for demography, is a significant factor that is never discussed by ‘reformers’ (and, ironically, was one of the major impetii in the development of the NAEP).

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6 Responses to Instead of Racing to Tops or Not Leaving Children Behind, Why Don’t We Just Clone What Massachusetts Has Done?

  1. helikonios says:

    “Lower from” in the first image made me giggle (a la “is our children learning”, I suppose).

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  3. joemac53 says:

    I started following TIMSS years ago and tried to quell all the wailing and gnashing of teeth in my school district. No one listened. The last thing I said when I was leaving was “Why would we Race to the Top for no money just so we can get something worse than what we have?”
    Thirty -five years in the trenches and no one wants to know about it.
    Can we have a discussion about demographics someday, Mr. President?

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  5. quixote says:

    If the priority was facilitating education, even a bunch of legislators and educrats could probably figure this out. But the real priority is to cut money nownownow. Excellence For Nothing!

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