Education Minister Dick Cheney has defended his government’s education rankings after the US Education Department revealed a 40 per cent drop in the quality of US schools in recent years.
Key points:The US has lost ground to Japan in the past decadeMr Cheney said the changes were a result of an “unbelievable amount of hard work” by educatorsThe Government said it was working to fix the problems Mr Cheney said it had seen in its rankings for more than a decadeMr Cameron, who was a child at one of the top 10 schools, was at the event in New York City on Friday night to address the US’ international reputation.
“We are getting more and more into areas that we think are of particular concern, so I think it is a testament to the hard work of our educators that we are now getting to the places where we want to be,” Mr Cameron said.
He said that, in terms of teacher quality, “the US is getting worse than Japan”.
“That’s why we have got to take care of our teachers and the education of our children, because that’s the number one priority for us,” he said.
“It’s not just about teaching kids, it’s about educating them to be better teachers.”
Mr Cheney described the trend in the US as “unprecedented”.
“This is the result of years and years of hard-work by educators in our country and the world, and that’s a testament of how important education is,” he told reporters in New Jersey.
“And this is why we’re going to keep working with teachers to make sure we have the best teachers in the world to go to work every day and do a better job.”‘
We’re getting worse’ Mr Cameron defended the government’s efforts to improve its ranking, saying they were “not about putting up a wall and saying, ‘Here’s our best score.
Here’s how we’re doing’.””
It is a matter of putting up the wall and telling our teachers, ‘We’re doing better than you’,” he said, adding that his department had invested $1.8 billion in teacher training and job training programmes.”
Now is a good time to do that,” he added.
Mr Cheney also said he was confident that the US would return to the “best” international education rankings next year.
“The US remains the number-one school in the United States in the international school rankings,” he noted.
“I think it’s an extraordinary achievement, and I think the world’s watching.”‘
A little bit of magic’Mr Cameron said he believed the US had “lost ground” in recent decades to Japan, but he defended his department’s overall performance, saying it was still “on track” to meet the “highest international standards”.
“We’re still ahead of our Japanese competitors and we are ahead of the rest of the world,” he explained.
“But I think there’s still some magic in the American school system that’s been there for a long time.”
“And I think our teachers know it.”
The US education minister, who has been an advocate for improving the quality and efficiency of American schools, said the change in the rankings was “not a dramatic one” but he hoped that the changes would help improve education.
“There are a lot of schools that are struggling right now, and we have been working hard to get them better,” Mr Cheney told reporters.
“In terms of the quality, it is not about putting a wall up and saying we are not going to be competitive in the future, it just means we have to do more, we have had to invest more, and this is what we have done.”‘
The American school experience is very important’He said the Government had invested “over a billion dollars” in school reform over the past 15 years, with $1 billion of that going towards “educational transformation”.
“The American education experience is incredibly important to our society, it can be the best education, and so we are working hard every day to make that better,” he continued.
“What we have learned from Japan is that it’s not enough just to put up a fence around our schools.
We have to make it a better place.”
The Government has also invested $300 million in a new $2 billion high-tech high school in Pennsylvania that will be a major hub for high-performing, high-achieving students in the state.
The new school will be the second in the nation after the state capital Philadelphia, which has been lauded as one of America’s most innovative education systems.
In a statement, Mr Cameron stressed the importance of the “American school experience”, and said he hoped the new school would “bring a new level of excitement, excitement for learning and excitement for the students that will bring a new way of doing things”.
“As an education minister I have spent my career working to ensure the American education system is best in the country,” he stated