Eduardo Porter recaps the conventional wisdom about American schools, recapitulating in one column all the same tired cliches as Rhee, Gates, Duncan, and our other corporate reform titans.

Our scores on international tests are mediocre. Yes, they have been mediocre since 1964, when the fist such test was given. No, I take that back. We were not mediocre in 1964, we came in last. And in the last fifty years, we surpassed the nations with higher scores.

There is a shameless gap between the test scores of rich and poor, which is true, but that’s because we have such a huge proportion of children who are poor (23%), more than any other advanced nation. Porter talks about various ways too raise the test scores of kids in poverty (the latest unproven fad: blended learning), quoting the salesmen.

Of course, the best way to reduce the gap would be to provide jobs and a decent living wage for the parents of poor children, but that seems to be off-topic. Best to keep up the pusuit of ever higher standards and harder tests, the failed strategy of the past dozen years.

Porter ultimately concludes that our biggest problem is “a dearth of excellent teachers.” How does he know? The OECD told him so.

Maybe he believes this. Maybe he just watched “Waiting for Superman.” I would love to have an hour with him.

The Néw York Times is unusually out of touch when it comes to the issue of education.