In the article Bob Herbert provides details on Bill Gates $2 billion, 9-year failed small-school initiative, charter schools leaving behind the most disadvantaged children, the 2000 K12 Incorporated ‘virtual schools’ venture (Goldman Sachs banker Ronald Packard, junk-bond king Michael Milken, Oracle founder-billionaire Larry Ellison, Secretary of Education and Drug Czar William Bennett – results – math, reading, graduation poor; attrition high), Pearson’s enormous influence in Texas politics, and the Bloomberg-Klein failed reforms of the New York City school system.
“The amount of money in play [in American education] is breathtaking. And the fiascos it has wrought put a spotlight on America’s class divide and the damage that members of the elite, with their money and their power and their often misguided but unshakable belief in their talents and their virtue, are inflicting on the less financially fortunate.
Those who are genuinely interested in improving the quality of education for all American youngsters are faced with two fundamental questions: First, how long can school systems continue to pursue market-based reforms that have failed year after demoralizing year to improve the education of the nation’s most disadvantaged children? And second, why should a small group of America’s richest individuals, families, and foundations be allowed to exercise such overwhelming—and often such toxic—influence over the ways in which public school students are taught?”
Since the early 1970s, Gallup has reported the results on their annual survey of American education. This year’s report includes findings from:
more than 600,000 5th- to 12th-grade students participated in the survey
results from Gallup’s decade-long study of exceptional teachers and principals are included
Here are the highlights of the 2013 survey and report.
Just 33% (1 in 3) students scored highly on all three factors linked to success at school and beyond: hope, engagement, and well being.
Emotional engagement is the heartbeat of the education (learning) process.
Less than half of students strongly agree that they get to do what they do best every day, leading to boredom and frustration as their greatest talents go undeveloped.
Within the first five years on the job, between 40% and 50% of teachers leave the profession. A lack of autonomy needed to effectively use their talents plays a significant role in these turnover rates.
Nearly 70% of teachers are not engaged in their work. While teachers compare favorably to other U.S. workers in agreeing they are able to do what they do best every day – they are last among 12 occupational groups studied when it comes to feeling their opinions count at work.
Just 19% of Americans agree that the country’s high school graduates are ready for college, and only 17% say graduates are prepared to join the labor force.
Just as exceptional teachers help students stay emotionally invested in the learning process, great principals provide the support that teachers and other staff members need to achieve high levels of performance.
Many U.S. school districts struggle with a lack of adequate school board leadership; only 37% of superintendents strongly agree that their districts are well-governed at the board level.
Young adults who say they had frequent opportunities in their last year of school to develop real-world problem-solving skills are about twice as likely as those who disagree to report higher-quality work lives.
Securing three simple rights for students can change the trajectory of their lives:
They feel they have someone who cares about their development;
They are able to do what they like to do each day;
I am struck with how tightly this couples with M. Night Shyamalan’s findings in his excellent book, I Got Schooled. By clicking on that title in the tags below, you can find summaries of his five practices that lead to success in the classroom.
Here is an overview from recent Standard & Poor’s economic research describing the importance of education to our country’s well-being:
At extreme levels, income inequality can harm sustained economic growth over long periods. The U.S. is approaching that threshold.
Standard & Poor’s sees extreme income inequality as a drag on long-run economic growth. We’ve reduced our 10-year U.S. growth forecast to a 2.5% rate. We expected 2.8% five years ago.
With wages of a college graduate double that of a high school graduate, increasing educational attainment is an effective way to bring income inequality back to healthy levels.
It also helps the U.S economy. Over the next five years, if the American workforce completed just one more year of school, the resulting productivity gains could add about $525 billion, or 2.4%, to the level of GDP, relative to the baseline.
A cautious approach to reducing inequality would benefit the economy, but extreme policy measures could backfire.
This from Franklin Schargel, one of my favorite authors, motivational speakers, trainers and lifelong educators.
It is time to end the charade of the concern of politicians and conservatives about the future of America. The United States supports the building of schools in and around the world because we know that education is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to build a country. Go into a room of highly successful people anywhere in the room and you will find one commonality. Most people sitting in that room were able to achieve their success by succeeding in their educational systems. Education should be the one budget item that is protected at all costs. In the 21st century, great countries will have great schools. So it is strange that we engage in nation building in foreign countries and scrimp at home. How is it that we can afford to increase our military budget, and cannot afford to invest in America’s children’s future? It would appear to me that this is a great way for our country to compete with other countries in the future. If we look at China and India, they were able to leapfrog much of the rest of the world by laser-like focusing on education.
We keep on hearing that education is expensive. It isn’t! Ignorance is. We either will pay for education up-stream or the lack of education downstream. Over 70% of our nation’s prisoners are school dropouts. We were told that the reason we couldn’t limit executive pay on Wall Street was because we needed the best and brightest to run these companies, yet the same people who told us that are now saying we need to limit teacher pay to save money.
Good schools benefit everyone. Poor children who get a good education become successful adults who contribute rather than drain the system. Tax dollars are going to them one way or the other. We need to find a more equitable way to pay for schools other than property tax, especially as our population grows older. It creates a huge burden on property owners and massive inequities. America was built by having free, public education for all. Yet, we are abandoning our goal of a good education for all. Budget cuts are undermining our long-term prospects for a prosperous society, by shortchanging our youth of the skills that they need to contribute. We’re eating America’s seed corn!
Some students at Medea Creek Middle School in southern California, have a very clear understanding of what’s broken about our economic and governance systems. Probably a much clearer idea than most Americans.
Here is a brief article including the less-than-9-minute video they made to explain it to the rest of us: