OECD’s Andreas Schleicher on PISA & K-12 Global Education

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+
This week on The Learning Curve, Gerard and guest cohost Dr. Jay Greene interview Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, on understanding the links among education, skills, and innovation for students worldwide. Mr. Schleicher discusses the Cold War challenges that arrived with the launch of Sputnik; globalization and competitiveness; and how international testing has improved our understanding of educational performance. He also addresses the wider learning loss, educational impact, and financial implications that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on global K-12 education and competition among nations.
Stories of the Week: Jay pointed to a story in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that underscores the move toward greater school choice across the country. Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ education overhaul legislation, introduced this week, would include offering ESAs to every student as part of “the most far-reaching, bold and conservative education reforms anywhere in the entire country.” Gerard shared a story from the Dayton Daily News about the Miami Valley Career Technical Center adding programs to give Ohio high school students “a step up on college.” In generations past, vocational education was often considered a second-best choice for students in many states. Today, voc-tech’s reputation continues to soar, offering students a blend of high academic standards and practical training for excellent jobs, with a growing number of programs in states across the country.
Guest
Andreas Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. He initiated and oversees the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and other international instruments that have created a platform for policymakers, researchers, and educators worldwide to innovate and transform educational policies and practices. He has worked for over 20 years with ministers and education leaders around the world to improve quality and equity in education. Before OECD, he was Director for Analysis at the International Association for Educational Achievement (IEA). He studied physics in Germany and received a degree in mathematics and statistics in Australia. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Theodor Heuss Prize, named for the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany for “exemplary democratic engagement.” He holds an honorary professorship at the University of Heidelberg.

Get new episodes of The Learning Curve in your inbox!

Hello listeners. This is Gerard Robinson from beautiful Charlottesville, Virginia. This week I’m actually joined by a longtime friend and colleague, Jay Greene. Jay, how are you doing?

Jay: Great. Thanks for having me. Guest hosting with you, it’s an honor.

Gerard: Yes, this is our first time tag teaming, at least on this show, but we’ve done some great work in the past. How are things going for you? And once you tell us that, talk to us about your story of the week.

[00:00:53]

Jay: Sure. Well, look, things are going great. I am a, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation as I’ve been there almost two years now. And my story of the week is actually related to why I think things are going so great. It’s a piece from the Arkansas Democratic Gazette and it’s about how legislation has been introduced in Arkansas, called Arkansas Learns. This is Gov. Sanders initiative and it contains two main features. One is a very large increase in the minimum pay for teachers as well as a universal ESA school choice program.

[00:01:29] ESA is education savings account and there are a majority of each chamber as cosponsors of this legislation, so it appears very likely to pass this week or next, given that a majority of the legislators are actually cosponsors of the legislation. And so, the interesting thing to me is how we’ve had this wave of universal school choice programs. Universal meaning everyone in the state will be eligible regardless of their income or location. So, this is not a targeted program for a specific category of students, but this is something that all children in Arkansas would be entitled to going forward.

[00:02:15] And we didn’t have any of these programs two years ago. And then a program like this was adopted in West Virginia then Arizona. Then at the beginning of this legislative session, just last month, Iowa and then Utah adopted these programs and now it looks like Arkansas will be next. And there are serious prospects in half dozen other states.

[00:02:37] So we, we could end up with between eight and 12 total states with universal school choice programs before the end of this legislative session from zero two years ago, which is a remarkable increase in school choice. So, something’s happening that’s causing this. And I think it’s really worth people thinking about what is different. I mean, we’ve been working on this for decades Dard and I certainly have been working on this for decades, but we’re feeling old a little bit having worked on it so long! But to see it bear fruit is really rewarding, but it also requires some reflection on how are we making these gains and what do we need to keep doing to continue that expansion.

[00:03:18] I think a big part of it obviously has to do with the pandemic and during the pandemic I think a lot of middle-class families began to feel like their public schools were breaking faith with them, both by not providing them with in-person learning opportunities, but also because they began to see the content

[00:03:36] of the education beamed into their homes, and they were often displeased with what they were seeing on a number of different dimensions having to do with their values. They saw how the schools were promoting values that were at odds with what they were trying to teach at home, and this made them much more interested in having school choice options so they could find other educational opportunities that would promote the values they’re seeking at home.

[00:04:01] These things I suspect are why we’ve seen this acceleration in the school choice movement and it’s been quite rewarding. And that’s my story of the week.

[00:04:09] Gerard: No, it’s a great story and I think it hits on, you know, three really good points. Number one, governors matter. We know this from the eighties and nineties, particularly in Florida when Gov. Bush took over the reins and really led a push to say, Hey, if you want to have a smart state, you’ve gotta have smart people and you’ve gotta open up the doors of opportunity across the board.

[00:04:31] And so, Gov. Sanders was pretty clear when she ran for office, education was going to be important. And she didn’t just go for what we would just call, just regular school or parental choice. She went across the board for universal. And so, uh, we’re going to watch the movement of that bill with great interest.

[00:04:47] It’s also good to note that she said, “Hey, I want to pay teachers more.” And we often think that the only governors, primarily Democrats, want to pay teachers more. In fact, there have been Republican governors for years who have said that. Even in my own home state of Virginia, Gov. Youngkin last year in our budget increased teacher pay as well.

[00:05:06] We have ESAs here at least on the books in terms of trying to move it through the legislative process. I think it’ll be tougher here, but we’re still going to move forward with it. But you’re right. The ESAs, the time has come, which leads to point two. You know, you and I have worked in the school choice movement to see the maturation from vouchers through tax credits, through somewhat tax deductions to scholarship organizations now to ESA

[00:05:33] and to a universal aspect. And so, it’s really grown. And then three, yeah, the pandemic did a lot. It really opened up the doors, as you mentioned. Naturally when we talk about ESAs, particularly in Southern states, there will be concerns about what does this mean for Brown v. Board of Education?

[00:05:49] Is this going to lead to white segregated academies? Didn’t we move away from this? Well, as you know, I recently had a chance to go to your former place in the University of Arkansas and [00:06:00] really talk about the fact that there were two parental choice movements in the United States. One is what I call fear-based choice, and that was from the passage of the 1956

[00:06:10] Southern Manifesto, signed by over a hundred members of Congress who basically said, we’re not going to let the Supreme Court tell us what to do. We’re going to move forward with our own plan. Arkansas was one of those states, they passed a number of fear-based laws, which led to either the creation of basically public money to support white segregated academies to trying to close public schools and all of that.

[00:06:33] Well, the Supreme Court weighed in and then a lot happened, but that pretty much found its way going out of style in the late 1960s, beginning of the 1990s, particularly with Milwaukee is what I would call freedom-based choice. And between Milwaukee and other southern cities like New Orleans, we’ve seen major things change.

[00:06:52] And so, I put that out there because I have, I’ve seen it just for years. We want to hollow the fear. I’m saying let’s pay attention to the freedom. So, look [00:07:00] forward to again, watching that legislation move through the Senate through, I should say the legislature. So, my story is a little further north.

[00:07:09] It’s from the state of Ohio. When I was in high school many years ago, I went to a college prep Catholic high school in Los Angeles, and everyone was pretty much told from day one, you’re going to go to college. Now, I was on a football path, and so my opportunity was to go to college, but to play sports; well, most of my friends who did go to college did so on an academic scholarship.

[00:07:31] But one thing that no one really stressed was the importance of thinking about a trade. Whether it was either leaving high school and going to a trade school or, while spending time in high school, getting a real strong technical education background. Well, many things have changed since then.

[00:07:47] And in Ohio, there are a group of employers, lawmakers, and others who said, listen, we’re going to make career and technical education real here. So one example in this article, and it’s from. The Dayton Daily News. Miami Valley Career Technical Center is adding 10 new programs on its main campus in Clayton, Ohio and in its satellite programs next year.

[00:08:10] Nikki Weldy, who is the superintendent of the school, said there’s been a major increase in the number of people who want career technical education and who also want certificates. She said, and you know, recently they’ve had to turn away over 300 people, get it, 300 because they simply did not have room. And what Wendy said is, quote, we’re seeing students of all different abilities, from those who want to go right into the workforce up to valedictorians of our partner districts who are coming here because this is a great way to get a step up on college end of quote. And Wendy goes further to say that employers are coming to her saying that not only do we need great people, but we’re willing to invest resources, financial and otherwise, to make this happen.

[00:08:54] And so she’s dealing with other schools have done is to say, “Hey, let’s open up satellite [00:09:00] campuses here. Let’s partner with community college. and we’re going to move forward.” One thing coming out of the pandemic was not only a greater appreciation for parental choice, but also the opportunity of using schools as a pathway to middle-class status.

[00:09:16] When I was in school, if someone said, “Technical education or career education or shop,” it was code for, oh, this is a course or a pathway for kids who weren’t academically prepared for the real world. Well, guess what? You can’t work with your hands today without working with your head. And so, there are a number of job openings that are open in that state.

[00:09:36] Lieutenant Governor John Husted said a long time ago that he made it a point to increase opportunities and so, he’s on the record of saying quote “career tech is on the rise because employers need employees more than ever.” They need employees with technical skills. And when we say technical skills and employees, it’s not that, hey, the corporations are basically going to drive the curriculum.

[00:09:59] [00:10:00] No. There’s a meeting of the minds where students are saying, I want a job. I want certification, and I want to move directly into the workforce afterward, or I want to leave here with a credential certificate, maybe even an associate’s degree, and go directly to college. I’m a big fan of career and technical education. Your ideas.

[00:10:20] Jay: That’s a great story, Gerard. And it’s also an important part of the parental empowerment story because parents want a variety of options for their kids, including career and technical education, and they won’t be able to choose those options if those options don’t exist. So, it’s exciting that these kinds of innovative and different path schools are available so

[00:10:42]that families can pursue them. and different kids want and need different things. So, I think it’s a very encouraging story and goes well with the story that I was mentioning earlier.

[00:10:52] Absolutely. Well, Jay, thanks again so much for having a dialogue with me about parental choice in Arkansas and a different [00:11:00] type of criminal choice in Ohio.

[00:11:02] So, I am glad to say that our upcoming guest is Andreas Schleicher. He’s the Director of Education and Skills and a special advisor on education policy to the Secretary General at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. It’s been a few years since I’ve had a chance to connect with Andreas, so I look forward to speaking with him.

[00:11:41]

Jay: Andrea Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, also known as OECD, in—that’s based in Paris. He initiated and oversees the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, and other international instruments that have created a global platform for policymakers, researchers, and educators across nations and cultures to innovate and transform educational policies and practices. He has worked for over 20 years with ministers and education leaders around the world to improve quality and equity in. Before joining the OECD, he was director for analysis at the International Association for Educational Achievement. He studied physics in Germany and received a degree in mathematics and statistics in Australia.

[00:12:33] He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Theodore Heuss Prize awarded in the name of the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany for exemplary democratic engagement. He holds an honorary professorship at the University of Heidelberg. Andreas, thanks for being on the show.

[00:12:51]

It’s really an honor to, have a conversation with you about, the work you’re doing. I was wondering if you could tell us about your [00:13:00] background and how you came to this topic of education policy and with a focus on measurement As an important tool for assessing education policy. So, I mean, I read your bio, but maybe you could tell us a little bit about how it is that this topic came to be an interest of yours and, how your own experiences led you to your thinking about this issue.

Andreas Schleicher: Yes. And first of all, thanks for hosting me. I entered the world of education with a quite different perspective from many working there. I had studied physics and I worked for some years in the medical industry. And you know, as a physicist, you are used to communicate and collaborate across national boundaries, and you actually work with strictly accepted principles, An established professional practice. Whereas, you know, educators try to look at every child one by one, and they often do with a fair bit of skepticism towards data and comparisons that were so familiar to me.

[00:14:00] But the biggest difference I discovered between the medical industry and education was the way in which the professions own their professional practice, people entering the medical profession, they simply expect their work to be transformed by research, by evidence, by data. Medical doctors wouldn’t think of themselves as professionals if they didn’t carefully study the most effective procedures, and they wouldn’t develop their own drugs in the medical field, you know, the first thing we do is take the patient’s temperature, diagnose what treatment is going to be most effective.

[00:14:36] In education, we sort of teach all students in the same way, and we give them often the same treatment. And at times—we actually quite rarely—diagnose at the end of the school year to what extent our treatment was effective. And so, that’s really the contrast with which I entered this and when I started my work at the OECD, we used to look at education through data on, you know, how many young people are enrolled, how long they study, sometimes what degrees they got.

[00:15:03] We actually knew very little on the results achieved. So that was really my ambition. Can we develop direct measures? Not how long people study, but what they actually know, what they can do. And that was really the idea of PISA and it gains some traction a bit by bit. Countries join into this and at the end, you know, we have almost a hundred countries now that regularly benchmark the quality of the learning outcomes on an international metric. Quite a different paradigm, quite a paradigm shift in education. But something, for me as a physicist, there was a very natural thing to.

[00:15:38]

Jay: It’s interesting that you connect the regular measurement that’s part of medical practice and how you found it lacking in the education space. And, and so a big part of your work is to improve that side of things. Do you think that we have made less progress in the education space relative to in medicine? And if so, why do you think that would be? If, improving measurement in both areas.

[00:16:06]

Andreas: Yeah. You know, again, in the medical field, there’s a very strongly established practice. There’s an ethic that is relying on, measurement, on evidence. Even, you know, as, a doctor you do a bit mistake and you know you’re going to be responsible for that. And the culture and education, it’s still quite different. Measurement is more the exception as the norm. Often it is felt as something punitive rather than supportive. And I think that culture seems really in the medical field we see rapid evolution.

[00:16:35] I would say this generally for science, science has seen such dramatic progress over recent decades, whereas so long as we treat education more as an art than a science, I do think we will not see that same level of, progress. You know, art is about, you know, something that requires a craft that you cannot replicate.

[00:16:56] Whereas it’s only when we make education not less of an art, but [00:17:00] more of a science that we will begin to actually be able to make success more systemic.

[00:17:06]

Jay: So some of this interest in thinking about education in a more scientific way was certainly spurred by the 1957 launch of Sputnik by the Soviet Union where the U.S. grew concerned that it was lagging in areas of science education, in particular, but education policy that would have military or national security applications.

[00:17:30] More recently there’s been a shift to a focus on economic competition instead of military preparedness. Do you think that this focus on economic competition is, just less inspiring than military competition? Or are they, or would they both perhaps help us in making the culture shift that you’re seeking?

[00:17:49]

Andreas: Well, you know, I guess that, shift that you described reflects how the competition of nations has shifted, you know, from military battles to economic competition. And, you know, as we go forward, it may shift further through humanity competing with artificial intelligence. So, I do think this is just a reflection what happens in education.

But through all of recent history, education’s always been absolutely key, boh to individual and societal success. And it’s not just about a very strong relationship between, the knowledge and skills that you have, your earnings, your employment probabilities, but it’s also a key predictor for many social outcomes that matter today a lot, you know, including our engagement in societies, our democratic participation, all of that really relates very closely to the skills, and those aspects have become more important in modern societies. And therefore, you know, this, shift is happening. And the reason that equity of educational opportunities is so much more important today is that, if you look back in the past, our economies only needed a very small number of highly educated workers and a lot of people with low skills who work from them.

[00:19:00] If you look around today, you need everybody, everybody’s education matters, and for people who have the right knowledge and skills, digitalization, globalization, you know, they have been liberating and exciting. They provide just amazing opportunities. Never before had the people with great skills had the less chances they have today but at the same time, for those who are insufficiently prepared, you often see vulnerable and very insecure work. Life is a poor prospect. So, I, in a way, the, polarization that we, we see economically, socially, very much reflects the outcomes of our education systems. Now, if you look at the economies today, they are shifting to regional hubs of production that are linked together by global chains of information and goods.

[00:19:49] And they’re always concentrated that comparative advantage can be built and where it can be renewed. And that makes the distribution of knowledge and skills so crucial. And that is ultimately tied to the distribution of education opportunity. So, it is quite natural that we pay more attention to those economic outcomes today than, in the past. There is a clearly tightening link between the distribution of economic opportunity and the economic, social, and political—and I would say even cultural polarization—that we see across and within countries now. So, you know, your schools today are going to be your economy tomorrow. Maybe military competition matters us a little bit less, but the economic aspect clearly is very important.

[00:20:32]

Jay: So, from your unique perch you know, a top one of the most important international measures of student achievement, do you see on the global landscape of educational performance? And in particular since our listeners are here in the United States, how do you see the United States faring in this global landscape.

[00:20:52] it very much looks at the point that you take of comparison. If you look back to the past, you know, in the 1950s around the Sputnik launch that you mentioned the U.S. was by far number one when it came to, you know, producing high-level graduates or, you know, having people completing high school.

[00:21:11] Now that was basically the legacy of investing in education post-World War II and Korea you would have found at that moment at the bottom of the international league table. Now today, Korea is very much at the top, and the U.S. is sort of just an average performer, not because things go worse, but because they developed so much further in other countries.

[00:21:32] Now, if you actually look at the PISA outcomes, you know, what I’m working on, measuring student learning outcomes directly, you can see in 2000 by 2012 already. The 10% most disadvantaged kids in the region of Shanghai in China, you know, and they come usually from highly impoverished neighborhoods—they had better outcomes in mathematics than the top 10 or the 10% wealthiest Americans. Now, I think that’s the reality today, we have seen a dramatic shift. Not that education in the U.S. declined, I don’t say that, but it has dramatically improved in some parts of the world. And what you can very clearly see today is that the world is no longer divided between rich and well-educated nations and poor and, and, and badly educated ones.

[00:22:18] Some of the poor countries are pulling themselves out of the swamp through a good education system. You know, Korea was the example of the ‘50s. If you look today, it’s China, it’s Vietnam, and you can really see in some areas very significant progress being made now.

Jay: So you find this an encouraging story, you don’t see education as a zero sum game. Other countries can gain without this being bad for the United States. So, your story is a story of other countries gaining while the US is holding its own, but not particularly gaining, is that what you’re saying?

[00:22:53]

Andreas: You know, absolutely. This is not a zero sum game. You know, the U.S. economy profits from every graduate produced anywhere in the world. economically, you have more customers, you have more kind of users of your goods and services. So, in a way, I think the world benefits from any graduate, any advanced skills produced anywhere in the world. And I would go a step farther. If you look, beyond economics to, social outcomes—probably, you know, education outside the U.S. borders may matter even more to the U.S. than education inside your borders. I mean, if we would have, invested more, if you think about, climate development, social developments today, if we had invested more in the education of poor nations, probably would face a different world—less war, less kind of conflict and so on.

[00:23:38] So I do think, the level of education on a global scale, it’s something from which we all benefited. It would be just a bad mistake to see this as a zero sum gain. the same, I would say with internationalization. The more students come to your country, the better you are off, the more students you send to other countries to learn elsewhere, again, that is a huge advantage as well.

[00:23:58]

Gerard: I’m so glad that Jay raised a question about zero sum, because we speak about education in such a way, and you’re basically saying, we don’t have to look at it that way. When you mentioned China, I think one of the last times we had a chance to see each other in person was at a conference at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Sponsored by Dr. Paul Peterson. And it was there that I actually met the principal of the highest-performing high school in mainland China. So, when I went to Beijing and had a chance to meet him, do a tour of the school. And one of the things that he said is that we sent a lot of students from China to the U.S. We get very few from the U.S. here, but he said basically people want to come to the United States because of our higher education system and because there’s a lot to do. From the work that you’ve seen in preparing young people for international competition, what do you think America’s doing right, in terms of educating our students for domestic, but also for our students traveling over to other countries, maybe for higher education opportunities or jobs?

[00:25:01]

Andreas: I think first of all, the higher education system in the U.S. continues to be very attractive for students from all over the world. It offers amazing opportunities to study great research, and that’s where competition is, very, very strong and many students in many countries do invest a lot to prepare for that.

[00:25:18] So I think that’s a clearly a great strength of the system here, but it sets a relatively small part of the population where what, what worry more is about the level of education produced domestically in school. That’s where our data really show the U.S. has fallen quite a bit behind of standards in other countries now.

[00:25:38] And it’s not a question of resources. You know, the U.S. invests a lot, maybe more than most countries on a per-student basis. But again, those three voices often not tied to delivering superior outcomes. And I think the baseline, the foundation skills are probably the biggest bottleneck now. Those, you know, who make it into higher education, [00:26:00] great universities, they’ll be fine. But there’s a lot of young people now who are left out of that equation.

[00:26:06]

Gerard: Well, let’s stick with the U.S. since you’re talking about our achievements. So, we know recently our US Navy scores have revealed that two decades of already modest progress has nearly gone particularly as it relates to math and science. And we know that with COVID, even before, two-thirds of states, even our high-performing states like Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, experienced declines in both the reading and math and it only worsened during the pandemic. You have an opportunity as Jay said, a perch, where you see things that many of us do not. Can you share with us here in the U.S. what states can do to address chronic underperformance and the wide achievement gap that we currently have?

[00:26:47]

Andreas: The learning losses during covid are not to the U.S. alone. You know, that very much is the function of the lengths of school closure and the quality of the provision that happened in between, but in virtually all countries COVID has just amplified any form of inequality and educational outcomes. Of course, you know, the U.S. closed its schools for longer than other countries and therefore sees more of those consequences. But again, I think that’s quite common. But, when you ask yourself, what U.S. states can do, I would say a good start is to tell young people more of the truth about their performance.

[00:27:23] You know, in many states, the educational standards are quite low, at least by international standards, so people get good marks, even if their performance is just so-so by educational—by international standards like PISA. And that’s not a good thing to do. We see everywhere that high performing education systems set ambitious goals and standards for young people.

[00:27:46] Those standards are rigorous, they’re focused, they’re coherent. And rigor means here, you know, high level of cognitive demand. Focus is about teaching fewer things at greater depth so that students really learn to think and not just to reproduce subject matter content. And coherence means that you have an instructional system that is really very systematically built rather than just negotiated.

So, I think that’s a actually a quite simple start. And, you know, I recall, the movement of the common core standards, that was a step in that direction. You building just, highly pitched educational standards that are honest with students.

[00:28:23] You know, if you’re not doing well, you better know and improve that outcomes. That for me is sort of something, without knowing where you want to be, it’s very, very hard to see progress and many state standards are, really quite, low pitched by international standards. Second, you know, it’s about resources.

[00:28:40] Again, you know, I think the good thing is that you do have the resources in the system. Once again, few countries spend as much per student as the U.S. The question I guess is how can you make more effective use out of those resources? What I can say is about, half of U.S., only half of spending [00:29:00] in the U.S. makes it into the classroom.

[00:29:02] And that compares, you know, 80% in Japan, for example. And so, in a way, I think first of all, making sure that the money that is invested in education actually, arise in the classroom and helps students learn better. That’s the first thing. The second part is, better aligning resources with needs.

[00:29:19] Again, one of the things you can learn from high-performing education systems—they may not spend so much, but they find out very quickly where are the learning needs? Where are the learning gaps? How can we help those students who need that help most to improve? Formula-based funding is something that is now very common across countries.

[00:29:37] You don’t just spread money equally across the system, but you look very carefully at the needs of students, schools, and the education system, and then build your financing around that. And those things, I believe, are actually not rocket science. There is actually good research, good evidence, out there, and they’re good practices, but how this actually happens, I guess the harder part is, when it comes to the quality of teaching and teachers and again, the U.S. spends a lot, but teachers are not paid really well, and teaching is not an attractive career choice. And the quality of education can never be better than the quality of your teachers. So, making teaching attractive, investing in teachers’ professional development, making sure that teachers really apply, research-based, evidence-based practice. I think those things are harder to do.

[00:30:27] So I don’t have any easy recipes, but eventually, without dramatically improving their status of the teaching profession, effectiveness of teachers, it’s going to be hard to see long-lasting educational improvements. But I would actually look at international comparisons through the lens of what can be done.

[00:30:45] Many of the systems that are now at the top of the international league tables haven’t been there for a very long time. I mentioned the Asian countries, but you can look even Portugal in Europe or Poland in Europe. Those systems you wouldn’t have looked at, you know, 15 years ago. [00:31:00] Now they’re advancing at a rapid state. Estonia, nobody had on their map. It was, you know, post-Soviet former part of the Soviet Union. And with very low performance standards, it’s now at the top of the international league table. So again, I think this is doable. this is an agenda, I think actually where international comparisons provide a lot of insight and inspiration.

[00:31:20] Some of the great points you just made, you were able to share last March at the Hoover Institute’s Education Summit and you led a discussion with Dr. Eric Hanushek, who’s been a guest in our show as well. And it’s good for our listeners to hear a couple of things. Number one, that in fact we actually have money in the U.S. because when you speak to people about education, they think we have no money for schools. It’s not the case. You’re saying only 50% makes it to the classroom compared to 80% for Japan. And then you mentioned former Eastern Bloc countries who are now doing very well. Just as a parting question, we had this past January, a number of governors—Arkansas being [00:32:00] one—who made an address for the state regarding what he or she wants to do in education.

[00:32:05] Our governor here in Virginia did it last year. Is there a particular country that you would recommend to new governors or governors who’ve been reelected who said, “You know what? I want to a create a partnership with a new country, a city, or something.” Is there one that should take a look at? I know there’s several, but one in particular you think would be of interest.

[00:32:24] Well, it really depends on what area you are looking at. If you look at raising the quality and attractiveness of the teaching profession, Finland would be a great choice. You know, the country actually pays its teachers not much better than teachers in the U.S. but they have a lineup of eight applications for every teaching post, just because it’s an amazing job profile. Interesting career perspectives. Good kind of recognition for good performance, great collaborative culture. So that will be, I think, a good example. If you look for, actually, your northern neighbor Canada, if you look for achieving greater, you know, equity and [00:33:00] educational opportunity, Canada has, done really, really well in aligning resources with needs, spending its money effectively, making sure every student can achieve You know, if you really want to look at today’s or tomorrow’s world-class standards, I think, you know, Singapore, China are well ahead of where we are in terms of, using modern instructional techniques, digital technologies to really educate young people for a very different future.

[00:33:25]

Gerard: Sounds great. Well, listen, Andreas, thank you so much. Jay and I are glad that you were able to share your ideas with us. I’m sure our listeners will take away some good nuggets. And you mentioned that you don’t have an easy recipe. Well, I can tell you some of the best food that I’ve ever eaten come from recipes that weren’t easy. You gotta put work in to make it happen. So, let us know what we can do on our end, on this side of the pond, to help you out, and we look forward to the continual great work coming out of your shop.

Andreas: Thanks so much. Pleasure.[00:34:00]

[00:34:29]

Gerard: Jay, thanks so much for the great conversation. Now we’re going to turn it over to you for the tweet of the week.

[00:34:35]

Jay: Sure, thanks. So the tweet of the week that I’d like to feature is from Education Next. It’s about an article by Doug Lemov about teenagers and their social media use and how dramatically it has increased over the last two decades and that this cuts across gender, race, and class. This is an universal phenomenon in the United States, and this social media use increase is not only dramatic, but the implications of it are very unclear. We also recently saw a new report from the CDC on the mental health of our young people, and it was a very alarming report. Extremely high rates reported of depression and anxiety, particularly from young women. And there’s a strong suspicion that this is connected to increasing social media use. Although it’s hard to know the exact relationships here, it’s even harder to know exactly what to do about it.

[00:35:37] But, just because we don’t know the solutions to everything doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be thinking about the problems we’re facing. And this feels like a very important problem for us to put at the front of our agenda and think about how our education system can be a partner with families in helping address the problems that excessive social media use may be causing.

[00:36:02]

Gerard: Thank you for sharing that tweet. Tough to hear, but something we need to hear. So, thanks for doing it. Next week we’re going to have another great guest, Rachel Silver Devlin. She’s the daughter of the late Boston University president and author of a new book, Snapshots of My Father, John Silber. Our cohost and I should say really the guy who helps lead the ship, Jamie Gass, has a relationship with that university and that leader, so I’m sure he’ll be looking forward as well to hearing from Rachel. Well, Jay, again, thanks so much for joining me. Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to see each other at some point in person in Washington, D.C. and if not, we will tag team again on a learning curve or do another.

[00:36:45] Look, this was great. you’re a pro at this I’m an amateur and but you make it easy and a lot of fun. So, thanks for, having me on as a cohost.

[00:36:53] Enjoyed it. Take care.

Tweet of the Week:

Recent Posts:

Johns Hopkins’ Ashley Berner on Educational Pluralism & Democracy

Johns Hopkins’ Institute for Education Policy director, Dr. Ashley Berner discusses educational pluralism's role in improving K-12 performance, exploring European models and the impact of U.S. school choice programs. Dr. Berner analyzes universal ESAs and vocational-technical schooling, addressing persistent academic struggles and civic knowledge gaps.

39th U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky for National Poetry Month

 Boston University professor, Robert Pinsky discusses his memoir Jersey Breaks: Becoming an American Poet; the enduring influence of sacred texts like the Psalms; and the wide cultural significance of classic poets like Homer and Shakespeare.

U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Hilary Crow on K-12 Civics Education

U.S. Chamber Foundation VP, Hilary Crow discusses the state of K-12 civics, emphasizing the Chamber Foundation’s role in addressing America’s wide civic education deficits. Crow highlights a recent national civics survey, alarming civic literacy gaps, and links between political unrest and our nation’s educational shortcomings in K-12 civics.

UCLA’s Ronald Mellor on Tacitus, Roman Emperors, & Despotism

Dr. Mellor delves into the enduring influence of Tacitus, the great Roman historian, on both America’s Founding Fathers and contemporary understanding of politics and government. He discusses Tacitus's insights on the early Roman emperors, unchecked authority, moral judgment of leadership, and the decline of the Roman Republic, as well as ancient lessons for modern governance.