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Faddish thinking is hobbling education in the rich world



Faddish thinking is hobbling education in the rich world

That the pandemic messed up schooling is well known. Between 2018 and 2022 an average teenager in a rich country fell some six months behind their expected progress in reading and nine months behind in maths, according to the OECD. What is less widely understood is that the trouble began long before covid-19 struck. A typical pupil in an OECD country was no more literate or numerate when the coronavirus first ran amok than children tested 15 years earlier. As our special report argues, education in the rich world is stagnating. This should worry parents and policymakers alike.

In America long-running tests of maths and reading find that attainment peaked in the early 2010s. Since then, average performance there has gone sideways or backwards. In Finland, France, Germany and the Netherlands, among other places, scores in some international tests have been falling for years. What has gone wrong?

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