We're Off-Balance

The head of PISA, the international achievement test, says that the U.S. needs to “raise the status of the teaching profession by recruiting more qualified candidates, training them better and paying them more, according to a new report on comparative educational systems."

According to the New York Times, PISA Director Andreas Schleicher explained that high-achieving countries, like Korea, Singapore, and Finland, “recruit only high-performing college graduates for teaching positions, support them with mentoring and other help in the classroom, and take steps to raise respect for the profession.” In contrast, U.S. education schools draw from the bottom third of high school and college graduates.

Americans also have different expectations for their school systems; we presume cultural and sports opportunities as well as academic ones. Is our balance off? Or is everyone else overly-focused on achievement?
In an interview, Mr. Schleicher said the point was not that the United States spends too little on public education — only Luxembourg among the O.E.C.D. countries spends more per elementary student — but rather that American schools spend disproportionately on other areas, like bus transportation and sports facilities.