By Tony Wagner
Decades of school reform efforts have led only to the consensus that American education needs improvement. The problem, Wagner argues, is that people are confused about what's really wrong with public schools. Worse, many of the accountability systems established in the last five years to improve schools are having the opposite effect. The standards movement, once touted as the cure-all for failing schools, "has degenerated into the 'standardized testing movement,'" in which teachers teach to the test, students become scores, and everyone feels less motivation to learn and achieve. Wagner may decry the same old demon, but he also offers a number of solutions that move the dialogue beyond tired debates. He favors accountability systems that focus on what students can do with their knowledge, rather than what they can remember for a test; localized authority that holds teachers and administrators accountable for student learning, but allows them choice in curriculum and methodology; and smaller schools, where teachers and students know each other and children feel valued.
176 pages | Routledge-Falmer