Tucker is President and CEO of NCEE and editor of Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems. This month, Harvard University Press is releasing a volume of policy recommendations based on the research commended by the secretary of education, Arne Duncan.
The research answers a simple question: How would one redesign the American education system if the aim was to take advantage of everything that has been learned by countries with the world’s best education systems?
Jay Mathews, an education columnist and blogger for the Washington Post, says Americans are running out of excuses and writes about several false assumptions that made U.S. look worse than the country really is.
Mathews is not alone. Educators at all levels are worried about the future of the American education. Many criticize the way tests are being elaborate or taken, but what nobody disagrees is the performance of our students when compared with that of students in other countries, particularly those in Japan, Korea, Finland, Shanghai, Singapore and Canada.
American students tend to come out somewhere between the middle and the bottom distribution.
Researcher Marc Tucker campaigned for creating more thorough standards in U.S. education, but he also has been demonized for a set of policy suggestions sent to Hillary Clinton in 1992. Talking to Bruce Walsh of Metro, he explains: "What I was doing in that letter was simply saying that we don’t have the kind of system that most top-performing countries have, in which the pieces fit together in a way that serves kids."
In the research complied by Tucker, he probes that "... by implementing any of the major agenda items that dominate the education reform agenda in the United States" the other leading countries had gotten on top of the tables, with the only exception of the Common Core State Standards. Different approaches, such as charter schools, vouchers, computer-oriented entrepreneurs and rating teachers by the test scores of their students, are almost absent in the overseas systems. Take note American educators.
The Washington Post presented a list of the 5 solutions Tucker and his team propose:
1. Make admission to teacher training more competitive.
2. Raise teacher compensation significantly.
3. Allow larger class sizes.
4. End annual standardized testing.
5. Spend more money on students who need more help getting to high standards.
When reform address education, everyone has voice, only a few the votes. We are anxious to see how changes can be implemented in a culture where there is a stronger local control of schools and the teachers' salaries, as well as their self esteem are less respected.
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