The latest PISA results have been hotly debated, with politicians of all stripes claiming the results prove them right.
That said, and notwithstanding the debates about the rights and wrongs of PISA, the article by Pasi Sahlberg in the Guardian's "comment is free" column is well worth a read.
The article, in summary, states that: "The PISA 2012 scores show the failure of 'market based' education
reform. A truly successful education system has students of all
socio-economic backgrounds scoring highly on PISA tests"
"My personal takeaway from the PISA 2012 study is how it proves that
fashionable Global Educational Reform Movement (GERM) is built on wrong
premises. GERM, that emerged from England's Education Reform Act 1988
and was further accelerated by the No Child Left Behind and the Race to
the Top reforms in the US, assumes that market mechanisms are the best
vehicles for whole system improvements. GERM has acted like a virus that
"infects" education systems as it travels around the world". Sahlberg