U.S. Education: A Global Perspective

U.S. child poverty moving in the wrong direction

Child poverty mapWe hear that the global recession has abated, but for many families around the United States, the impact of this crisis still reverberates. The AFT has studied child poverty statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and has used the data to unmask disparities in educational equity. This is especially important in light of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's 2012 Program for International Student Assessment study finding that the most important factor in score variation for American students was socio-economic background. The AFT's state-by-state and county-by-county maps of child poverty have provided a wake-up call for many state-elected leaders, and the graphics have sparked discussion about what it means to have nearly one in four U.S. students living in poverty. The reality is that the United States needs to do a better job in directing tools and resources to the students and schools that need them the most. Read more.

Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)

The Dec. 3 release of the OECD’s triennial report on the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) ranks academic achievement among students from approximately 70 countries, with an emphasis on the math competencies of 15-year-olds. PISA provides the most comprehensive research and analysis of indicators that measure the quality of teaching and learning around the globe.

What does the research tell us about the policies and practices of high-performing countries that can further our goal of providing all of our children with a high-quality education? This page explores answers to that question. One good place to start is with the webinar presentation. New materials will be added regularly.

Affiliate actions

  • In a Nov. 18 speech at the City Club of Chicago, Illinois Federation of Teachers President Dan Montgomery challenged the misleading narrative of "failing schools" and argued that we need to think more critically about the findings of international comparisons. Watch the video.
  • California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt writes in the September-October issue of California Teacher about how today's attacks on public education in this country are taking place in the context of a global economic crisis. Read his column.

Articles and resources