According to Lou Gerstner in his December 1st op-ed piece in Wall Street Journal, schools today are failing miserably to educate students for 21st knowledge and skills. He's right. Scores on national achievement tests are flat and, in some cases, down over the past two decades. Today, we have the dubious honor of leading all developed world countries in the proportion of students who drop out of high school.
But his solutions are dead wrong. He recommends, among other wrong-headed solutions, abolishing local school districts, nationalizing standards, curriculum, teacher certification, and tests. Forget local control, and leave it up to the feds.
It is this very effort -- to create an overarching federal policy in education -- where No Child Left Behind has gone so wrong. In its great effort to be all things to all people, it left families, communities, and local participation behind. Hopefully, President-elect Obama is listening to parents, and local communities who want their schools back. By engaging the community and getting parents involved, we'll get better standards, better curriculum and better results.