It's American Education Week

As communities across the nation join the National Education Association in celebrating American Education Week, Nov. 14-19, the Massachusetts Teachers Association applauds its members for continuing to lead the nation in student success.

“I am extremely proud of our teachers, education support professionals, administrators and, of course, our students,” said MTA President Paul Toner. “Although we have long been a high-performing state, we have never become complacent. Our members continue to strive to find new and innovative ways to help all students succeed.

“Income disparities are a major societal problem and do affect student learning,” Toner continued. “But our members know we can’t wait for the income gaps to close before trying to close the achievement gaps. We are continuously focused on effective strategies for reaching and teaching our most disadvantaged students.”

Below are some of highlights showcasing the success of public school students in Massachusetts.

  • For the fourth year in a row, Massachusetts students were first or tied for first on the 2011 mathematics and reading tests given as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called The Nation’s Report Card. (http://www.mass.gov/governor/pressoffice/pressreleases/2011/11111-naeps-results-released.html.)
  • Massachusetts ranked first in the nation on Education Week’s K-12 Achievement index, a measure that includes current levels of performance, improvements over time and the achievement gap between poor and non-poor students. On this metric, Massachusetts was given 85 points; the U.S. average was 68.7; and the lowest-scoring state, Mississippi, received 55.3. (“Quality Counts 2011,” Education Week.)
  • Massachusetts was the only state to receive an “A” on EdWeek’s Chance-for-Success Index, which looks at early foundations, school years and adult outcomes. The Bay State received a score of 94 out of a possible 100; the U.S. average was 78.3; and the lowest-scoring state, Nevada, received a 65.6. (“Quality Counts 2011.”)
  • Massachusetts scored better than all of the Western countries participating in the 2007 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), though below some of the Asian countries and city-states that took part. For example, in grade 8 science, Massachusetts had a score of 556 and was ranked third, below Singapore (567) and Chinese Taipei (561), but ahead of Japan (554), Korea (553) and all of the Western nations that participated, including England (542) and the U.S. as a whole (520). This was the first TIMSS test in which individual states were allowed to participate as if they were countries. Massachusetts and Minnesota were the only two to do so. Several high-performing European nations, including Finland, did not participate in this study. (Sources: The National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/timss/, and Boston College http://timss.bc.edu/.)
  • In an article on international achievement disparities, The New York Times noted, “If Shanghai is a showcase of Chinese educational progress, America’s showcase would be Massachusetts, which has routinely scored higher than all other states on America’s main federal math test in recent years.” (“Top Test Scores From Shanghai Stun Educators,” The New York Times, Dec. 7, 2010.)