It is often said by education reform critics that if you look at U.S. education by state, some states actually excel in international comparisons. The following charts are from a paper by Hanushek, Peterson, and Woessman on how U.S. States perform compared to other nations by looking the percent of students that  scored advanced on 2006 PISA math exams. Massachusetts clearly outperforms all the other states, but is still outdone by 14 countries, 11 of which perform better by a statistically significant margin. The U.S. overall does much poorer:

I thought this chart served as a useful reminder that all states have room for improvement, and it’s not true that some of them can simply pat themselves on the back, say “great job!”, and turn their backs to education reform.