Saturday, August 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Hey, kids, it's not just you

Turns out our kids aren't the only low-performing folks around. Parents are in that class, too.

Hey, kids, it's not just you

Well whadda know?

Those low and declining test scores for our school kids? Looks like the kids come by it honestly.

Yes, recent news about standardized test scores in Philly public school pupils being down two and a-half points in reading and four points in math sure don't seem much an endorsement of schools, teachers or learning ability.

But wait.

Now comes a study that adults are, well, in the same class.

The first-ever ratings of U.S. grownups compared to adults in other democracies around the world shows Americans are below average in literacy, math and computer skills.

The study compared 5,000 U.S. adults aged 16 to 65 with like samples from 21 other countries.

In literacy, Americans trailed 12 other countries. Top performers were Japan, Finland, the Netherlands and Australia.

In math, the U.S. scored behind 18 countires, besting only Italy and Spain.

And in digital skills and solving tech problems, we lagged behind 14 nations.

"These findings should concern us all,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a written statement. “They show our education system hasn’t done enough to help Americans compete — or position our country to lead — in a global economy that demands increasingly higher skills.”

Yeah, well, they also show our apples aren't falling far from our trees.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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