If education was an Olympic sport, you can bet there would be national outrage about such a relatively "poor showing," and no effort would be spared to find and train "better representatives" in the next international competition to carry our flag.
If there's one lesson the global economy has taught us over the last few years, it's that we cannot simply bail ourselves out of a crisis, that we cannot solely stimulate ourselves out of a crisis. Investing in high-quality education is the gateway to better skills, better jobs and better lives.
Public investments in schools vary greatly across states, as do other policies that may boost or depress scores. This year, three states received individual PISA rankings -- as if they were independent countries. This can help us connect the dots between those disparities and scores.
Last week the Center for Union Facts (don't believe the name) sponsored a full-page ad in the Times attributing the "high school slip in global rankings" to a single issue: the failure of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten to promote merit pay for teachers.
Testing must be made relevant to the everyday lives of teen and 'tween girls. What are their actual dreams and aspirations? Let's take a cue from GoldieBlox and design math tests "from the female perspective."
One of the most frequent claims I have heard from people trying to explain poor learning outcomes in their country is that their teachers come from the bottom third of their college graduates, while high-performing countries recruit their teachers from the top third.