Last week, President Obama defended the firing of every single teacher in a struggling high school in Rhode Island. Yes, America has found a new boogeyman to blame for our crumbling educational system.
If Duncan and Obama really expect five million more students to graduate from two-year colleges, they must for the first time in history make our schools into thoroughly intellectualized, serious places.
During the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush years the center of American politics was pushed about a hundred degrees to the Right. Obama gets elected and tries to move it about a half degree leftward and all we hear are screams of "socialism!"
Diane Ravitch's new book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, is part polemic and part confessional. Ravitch, once an ardent supporter of charter schools, has done a dramatic 180-degree turn.
Bookended by a story about a girl who committed suicide after failing a math test, the film Race to Nowhere shows the price young people are paying for hanging on the runaway train of academic overachievement.