The U.S. performed above average on international standardized tests in elementary and middle school math, science and reading, according to reports released Tuesday. But experts said the rankings, along with similar exams that test students at later ages, show a fundamental problem in America's education system: students tend to perform worse as they age.
"When we start looking at our older students, we see less improvement over time," said Jack Buckley, who leads the U.S. Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics. That trend holds true across several exams.
"New [science] curriculum standards, which at least 26 states have pledged to consider, take a firm stand on climate change and evolution and emphasize hands-on learning." "Worried that public schools are failing to prepare students for a complex and changing world, educators unveiled new guidelines Tuesday that call for sweeping changes in the way science is taught in the United States, emphasizing hands-on learning and critical scrutiny of scientific evidence. Among many other changes, the guidelines call for introducing climate science into the curriculum starting in middle school, and teaching high school students in detail about the effects of human activity on climate. The guidelines also take a firm stand that children must learn about evolution, the central organizing idea in the biological sciences for more than a century, but one that has rallied state lawmakers and some religious conservatives to insist that alternative notions like intelligent design be taught."
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