Excerpted from the Atlantic
"The reasons why are both complicated and familiar. In an interview with the Post, one of the study's authors pointed to the "2008 recession, immigration and a high birthrate among low-income families," as factors. The changes were happening before the economy collapsed, but the bust exacerbated them. "
"First, whenever you hear about "America's failing school," remember these maps. Poverty—or in many cases, near poverty—is the 50 pound backpack dragging down U.S. students."
"Second, policy makers and pundits often get worked up about our mediocre performances on international standardized tests. But the reality is that there are vast variations between our students, who are divided by geography and socio-economic class in ways quite unlike children in countries such as Japan or Finland. If schools are still, in a sense, factories, then Massachusetts districts get much better raw material to work with than Texas districts. Suburbs get a leg up on cities. And their results often reflect it. Trying to capture our vast range of educational outcomes in a single ranking misses those nuances. "
"And finally, the worst thing about these numbers may be that they're a glimpse of the future. Like I said up above, students from low-income families tend to end up parents of low-income families. And on it goes."