The education blogosphere is up in arms about America's poor performance at the Education Olympics. Matthew Tabor can't believe "we're losing to a bunch of friggin' Finns." The Core Knowledge Blog calls it "a national embarrassment." Meanwhile, BoardBuzz reminds us that international comparisons are "more than a horse race" (and skoolboy gives us another close look at said horse race).

Michael Phelps might have taken a day off, but we're here 24-7. (Well, except for weekends, to be honest.)...

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Oh world, beware ye Finland's wrath!

For fearless are their bosoms when

A PISA test stands in their path

In reading, science, or in math.

Though sharpened are their Number Twos,

Still sharper are their well-trained minds;

Their foes they flummox and confuse

As Ed Olympics gold accrues!

More at

Education Week offers a pair of articles about the presidential campaigns' advisors this week. First, Alyson Klein ponders whether said advisors "send signals on the policy directions their candidates would pursue if elected to the White House." (I say yes; Eduwonk Andy says no.)

Then David Hoff takes a look at the role of Teach For American alumni on Senator Obama's campaign, including Michael Johnston, star of a recent reporter roundtable at Fordham.

Both are worth checking out.

I'm not just following the Education Olympics coverage; I'm also addicted to the regular Olympics as well. And during last night's broadcast I heard for the first time that Michael Phelps's mother is a middle school principal. (It appears that I'm the last to know.)

So what do we know about the school? It's Windsor Mill Middle School in Baltimore County, Maryland--the district's newest middle school (so new that hasn't found it yet) and one of its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) academies. And, according to its report card on the Maryland Department of Education website, it didn't make Adequate Yearly Progress under No Child Left Behind. Its African-American, low-income, and special education students all failed to meet targets in reading and math, as did its students overall. (It appears to be a predominantly African-American school.)

If Debbie Phelps can raise the most decorated gold medal athlete in Olympic history, surely she can turn around Windsor Mill Middle School, too....

That's how the message board outside Washington, D.C.'s Garrison Elementary School currently reads. (I just passed it on my way to work.) To which I say to Garrison's leaders: can't you act just a little less surprised? (And congratulations.)

Photo by Flickr user flappingwings.

Liam Julian

So believes Charles Murray. He explains his position in today's Wall Street Journal.

Liam Julian

A New York Times op-ed answers that question.

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Over at the water cube in Beijing, Michael Phelps won his fourth and fifth gold medals, for a record eleven total in his career. Nearby, the American women's gymnastics team captured a disappointing silver in an event where gold was within reach.

"Disappointing?" said Toby Jenkins of the U.S. Education Olympics team. "We'd gladly take a silver in any event." Indeed, the American students still have yet to secure a top-three finish in this year's Education Olympics.

Meanwhile, Finland kept up its feverish pace, winning six golds and a silver today. The East Asian tigers have begun to roar, as well. Read all about it at


Or so the post-graduate cram schools in South Korea have been accused. No make-up, no fraternizing with the opposite sex, no iPods, no fun--and classes and studying from 7:30 am to midnight. Sounds a bit extreme, but the ultimate motivation is sound: Korea won't let these students enter college without being prepared. A look at results from the Education Olympics show that Korea is kicking American tuchus. Maybe we should be taking notes.