I recently noted (as I often do, for dead horses are made to be beaten) that we could make real increases in U.S. education if other states were to copy Massachusetts’ education system. Well, Lord High Technobrat™ seems to have gone whole hog on the idea:
But whenever I read American writers touting some small cold part of Europe, I wonder why the obsession with looking so far afield? There are at least as many Nordic-sized chilly portions of the United States that feature broad prosperity as there are Nordic countries.
Consider the Boston-Quincy-Cambridge Metropolitan Statistical Area of the United States. Greater Boston contains about the same number of people as Denmark. And in Purchasing Power Parity terms it’s richer than Denmark. There is inequality in Greater Boston, but prosperity is broadly shared—median household income was $68,515 in 2010. That’s 25 percent higher than the American average. The 10th percentile of Greater Boston workers earns $11.05 an hour. That’s 28 percent higher than the American average. Massachusetts has a universal healthcare system, and Massachusetts’ public school system outperforms every European country’s schools (some Asian countries do better).
The education praise is rich: Massachusetts’ educational system ignores the advice Yglesias has given on the subject (weaker teachers unions, high-stakes testing, lack of emphasis on curriculum and pedagogy). Though the endorsement is nice I suppose.
When it comes to education, I really wish other states would adopt what a successful system has done, rather than reinventing a square wheel. Massachusetts does too: Massachusetts is working on adopting Oklahoma’s pre-K system–this isn’t Commonwealth triumphalism (God save it!).
We can do this.