Three weeks ago, another education reformer was dismissed from his post by protectors of the status quo. This time, it happened in Wake County, North Carolina when a 5-4 vote of the Board of Education dismissed former Broad Academy graduate and Army General, Anthony “Tony” Tata as district superintendent. At a time when district scores are going up, dropouts are going down, and their accreditation status recently upgraded, why did the Board of Education let the superintendent of 20-months go?
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation publishes content on K-12 education and related issues. Find and access current and archived items in our database.
When unionized teachers in Chicago took to the picket lines in September, leaving classrooms empty in the first weeks of the new school year, it caught America’s attention. Now that the debate over education has been reignited, let’s put the focus back where it belongs—on the students. Many Americans are deeply concerned about the state of public K–12 education—and others are downright mad. A new Hollywood film features the fight of one mother and one teacher who are fed up with the low standards, union control, and bureaucratic bungling that contribute to chronically failing schools.
High-tech manufacturing companies like Boeing are concerned about the United States’ ability to sustain its leadership role in technology and innovation. The state of American education—and even the academic rigor required to earn an engineering degree—has become a frequent talking point at the national level. Some even mistakenly theorize that our students are not up to the challenge of studying engineering, math, and science because it’s just too hard. The answer to this national crisis lies not in changing the engineering, math, and science curriculum but in changing learning environments and how these subjects are taught.
We hear it every day: ‘The success or failure of our education system directly correlates to the success or failure of the U.S. economy.’ We know that learning and mastering essential skills, such as writing and mathematics, in K–12 and postsecondary schooling is crucial to landing a job and excelling in the workforce. Yet, it’s also known that American public schools are failing across the board.
Breaking the Monopoly of Mediocrity Aims to Rally Thought Leaders in Education, Government, and Business to Improve Education Across the Nation
This week, as leaders gather in New York City for the third annual Education Nation summit to talk about education solutions, out in the trenches, the battle continues over education basics. The first teachers' strike in 25 years in the Windy City garnered national headlines as union leaders fought to minimize school accountability. In a district where only one in nine African American students are meeting state standards in reading and math and only half graduate from high school, educators vigorously resisted measuring teacher effectiveness in the classroom and giving students more instructional time.
As someone who trained as a professional boxer, Overstock.com Chairman and CEO Patrick Byrne can certainly take some punches. He started his speech at the U.S. Chamber by noting that he is public enemy number one, according to the National Education Association. It’s a distinction that the outspoken supporter of school vouchers and education reform is quite proud of.
On August 22, ACT released, The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2012. The annual report focuses on the scores earned by graduating seniors who took the ACT college and career readiness exam-this year a record 52 percent of the U.S. graduating class. More than a fourth (28 percent) of ACT-tested 2012 graduates did not meet any of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks in English, mathematics, reading and science, suggesting they are likely to struggle in first-year college courses in all four of those subject areas. Another 15 percent met only one of the benchmarks, while 17 percent met just two.
On August 12, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced it had finalized the application for the 2012 Race to the Top-District competition, which will provide nearly $400 million to support school districts in implementing local education reforms. According to the department: “The program sets a high bar to fund those districts that have a track record of success, clear vision for reform, and innovative plans to transform the learning environment and accelerate student achievement.”
Let's be honest with ourselves, education reform can seem a little "wonkish" at times. One of the toughest challenges for the education reform community is engaging the general public to take action. News stories riddled with policy jargon about teacher tenure, school choice, school governance, and student tracking aren't necessarily 'above the fold' headlines. However, cinema has the power to attract a broad audience and stir emotions that policy-laced news stories rarely reach.