Arkansas Senator Presents Study Finding Education In U.S. Pales Next To Other Nations

Aug 9, 2016

Credit Lucinda Schreiber for NPR

Arkansas state Sen. Joyce Elliot (D-Little Rock) spoke before a national group of state legislators Tuesday on how to improve education in the United States.

The National Council of State Legislators conducted a study entitled, No Time to Lose: How to Build a World Class Education System State by State, which found that education in the U.S. lags behind at least 30 other countries worldwide. 

Speaking in Chicago, Elliot said policies in those countries are data driven and less subject to political whim.

“They've taken years to put together a coherent system and taken the time to make sure, once they put the system in place, they stayed with it,” she said. 

She added that in countries with high achievement, a commitment to equity, child readiness, and high standards for teachers and students are not subject to debate. 

“Because we elect the next prime minister, the next president, or the next senator, the mission did not change. Nobody comes in and gets elected and says, 'Now I'm the education governor this year,'” she added, explaining that student assessments in such successful countries are used to gather information about teaching methods, rather than set high-stakes requirements in which short-term failures results in drastic policy shifts. 

The study found emphasis on Pre-K, investment in teachers, and vocational tech programs that are appropriate to the modern workforce are areas where the U.S. is being out-competed.  

Read more from NPR here.