The latest results of PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) merely confirm what pundits are saying about the burgeoning global dominance of China. In the past, South Korea, Finland, and Singapore have been the highest scorers in these international assessments of science, reading, and math literacy. They have been used as models of education reform and accomplishment, and have not disappointed this year, coming in near the top.
However, results from the latest global comparison, taken in 2009, show that China, (as represented by Shanghai students) earned #1 in reading, science, and math literacy (see chart). The United States came in unsurprisingly at 15th, 20th, and 30th, respectively. Hong Kong has also come to the fore, scoring at no worse than 4th in every category. A summary has been written about this in today’s New York Times article.
Is the U.S. ready to confront this reality? Or will our leaders engage in partisanship that further erode our confidence and progress? China has already recently surpassed Japan as the world’s second largest economy; with my post on China’s recent accomplishment building the world’s fastest supercomputer, is this further proof of China’s global rise? In the end, I believe that there is a strong separation between classes in China that will prevent them from fully dominating, with a robust emerging upper class that is beginning to embrace a consumption economy contrasted with a large population of manufacturing laborers and the uneducated. I’m curious to know what readers think.