The Obama Administration could provide a national focus for all these efforts with a signature program to close the achievement gap, not displacing the contributions of community and business but facilitating and focusing them. Why not?
Has there ever been a more important time to debate the big picture questions of education? As nations around the world reform education to prepare their students for the 21st century workplace, are our students ready to compete?
We're not sure. Although we agree that the destinies of young people are malleable, we worry as well about the difficulty of achieving the right balance in school between character education and academic preparation.
Many colleges and universities mount similar programs. But, what if all 4,000 of the nation's institutions of higher education were to create three or four similar programs? I think the results would be remarkable.
After two decades, it's clear what charter schools can accomplish. The challenge for the next 20 years is to build on these accomplishments to ensure that every child can realize the benefits of a high-quality public school education.
America's schools aren't doing nearly well enough, especially for our neediest children. We need accountability systems that create urgency and push for significant gains every year. Ideological arguments and utopian objectives don't help.
While I support efforts to reduce suspensions through aligned socio-emotional supports, I understand why Marc Epstein is suspicious of "discipline codes oriented more toward 'therapeutic responses' rather than the traditional suspension."
When we blame teachers, we fail to address the roles played by budget cuts and by family and child poverty, and we fail to recognize those who are dedicated to student success in the face of great challenges.
It seems like an easy concept: if you don't know how to do something, ask for help. But recent research shows that a student's socioeconomic background affects his or her strategies for seeking help in the classroom.