Letter: U.S. and European schools like comparing apples to oranges

Published: Monday, Dec. 3 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

In this Feb. 24, 2012, file photo shows Gov. John Kitzhaber greeting kids following his education news conference, in Salem, Ore. Proponents of Oregon's plan to improve education hope it will force school districts to focus intensely on producing successful graduates and shine a light on the best and worst performers.

Rick Bowmer, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

I would like to respond to the Deseret News' editorials about how horribly our education system is doing. These articles repeatedly compare us to other developed countries and cry foul, while forgetting one can't compare apples to oranges.

Most other developed countries "weed out" lower performing students before they even reach high school, leaving only the top students left to be scored and be educated. No wonder, on average, they graduate more kids and perform better on standardized exams — only the best performing kids are allowed testing and a chance of graduation. Of course they will score better; when you take average scores of only high performing students, and compare them to average scores of all students, there will be a discrepancy.

In the U.S., everyone is welcome in public schools, not just those who prove they can compete. It's the idea of freedom and a chance at a better life that we offer. This is precisely why our universities are the best in the world, more people are educated and have the opportunity to attend and succeed — we don't weed them out at 9th grade.

I'm not against ideas for improvement, because really there will forever be a need for improvement and growth, but please don't keep comparing our apples to their oranges.

Jody Murphy

Orem

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