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Daniel Powell

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Why isn't REAL reform taking place in our education systems? Education is broken, but do any of the current reforms really change anything?

Of the 34 developed countries in the OECD, the United States ranks in the bottom one-third in math and science scores and graduation rate. Our nation isn’t catching up, either, it’s falling further behind. At least 11 countries are making academic gains at double and even triple the rate of American students. Despite nearly 30 years of reform efforts, little has changed. None of the proposed reforms by President Obama (listed on the White House page for education reform) fundamentally change the educational system.

“…overall, the United States has the same teachers, in the same roles, with the same level of knowledge, teaching in the same schools, with the school day organized the same way, with much the same set of tracked courses, with the same materials, and much the same level of parental support.” –Jal Mehta, of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

In making this comment, Mehta urges us to look at educational reforms that will upend the current system. Education reform is needed, we all agree. If we’re going to change education in America, then we need to be serious about making real changes that fundamentally reshape our educational institutions. I challenge educators in America to join the conversation, and to propose profound changes to the system that will disrupt the status quo and challenge traditional education.

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    Jul 20 2013: As I'm sure you're aware, test scores from other countries can be very deceptive. How 'inclusive' is the population? What are the cultural and language elements? Who is tested? etc. My understanding is that if you take the esl/bilingual, special ed, free-lunch and below the poverty-line kids out of the American scores, Americans rank among the tops in the world. Plus, most high-level American universities have a majority of American students, and these are the same universities that parents from foreign nations are desperately trying to get their kids into - along with some famous English schools like Oxford and Cambridge. Although public schools are an easy target, and every arm-chair teacher has an opinion on how to run the playbook, there may be more to the story than test scores and researchers who may have limited practical experience running public schools.
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      Jul 20 2013: So, no other nation has bilingual, poor, special ed. children that they seek to educate? Damn, how did America get so unlucky.
      And there is a lot more to the story. Corrupt school boards supporting self serving administrators who pad the programs to insure they can support their 6 figure salary while 25% of their productivity never get finished... to put it in industrial terms. When half of the young adults finish high school with barely enough education to maintain a job at McDonalds.... we got problems.
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        Jul 25 2013: Ah, you hit my pet peeve - school boards. The only board of directors with no experienced required. Community members (and their little fiefdoms) with control of over half the tax receipts. Maybe, using your 'industrial' reference, we should have our children 'apply for available positions' in school, submitting a resume, and compete for desks. Then we may be able to have the 'resulting accountable output' at a level acceptable to those who measure success via test scores from around the world.

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