In a global economy, the benchmark for educational success is no longer improvement by national standards alone, but the best performing school systems internationally.
Results from the latest PISA assessment, the world's metric for evaluating learning outcomes at school, show amazing changes in the composition of the global talent pool.
Shanghai, already the top-performing education system in 2009, has extended its lead in students' math performance over the next highest performer, Singapore, to the equivalent of a full school year.
And that was at a time when Singapore, too, saw rapid progress.
Other East Asian systems, including Chinese Taipei and Japan, also saw improved student learning outcomes. PISA -- the Programme for International Student Assessment -- was conducted in 2012, a year when many of the 65 participating countries were grappling with the aftermath of an economic crisis that has brought home the urgency of equipping more people with better skills to collaborate, compete and connect in ways that drive economies forward.