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Reclaiming the Promise of Public Education Conversation VIII

American Education in Global Perspective

April 9, 2014

Since the 1995 introduction of the TIMSS studies (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) and the 2000 start of the PISA assessments (Program for International Student Assessment), much ink has been spilled on the subject of where American schools and American students stand vis-à-vis their international counterparts. While the TIMSS and PISA rankings themselves are straightforward, there is considerable disagreement, often contentious, over what those international comparisons tell us about the state of American education. Both market critics of American public education and critics of the market-based reforms of the last decade and a half point to American education’s international standing as evidence that supports their respective policy agendas, while others dispute the very suggestion that meaningful causal
links can be drawn between the international rankings and broad policy agendas. Other flash points revolve around how educational performance is shaped by the rate of childhood poverty, by the professional status of teachers, and by the
existence of a national curriculum and national standards. The panel will discuss these and other facets of America’s education from a global perspective.


Leo Casey

Executive Director, Albert Shanker Institute

Wach the introduction


Tom Loveless

Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, Brown Center on Education Policy, Brookings Institution

Watch the presentation



Julian Vasquez Heilig

Associate Professor, Educational Policy and Planning; Associate Professor, African and African Diaspora Studies; Faculty Associate, Center for Mexican American Studies; Faculty Affiliate, Center for African and African American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin College of Education

Watch the presentation.


Richard Rothstein

Research Associate, Economic Policy Institute; Senior Fellow, Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at the University of California (Berkeley) School of Law.

Watch the presentation






Sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute and the American Federation of Teachers, this conversation series is designed to engender lively and informative discussions on important educational issues. We deliberately invite speakers with diverse perspectives, including views other than those of the AFT and the Albert Shanker Institute. What is important is that these participants are committed to genuine engagement with each other.