One of the problems with education reform is that US high schools operate under ambiguous orders. On the surface, there seems to be a shared vision. A recent Gallup poll echoed President Obama’s sentiments when it found that nearly all Americans (84 percent) agree that “high school students should be well-prepared for college and a career.”
But what happens if you go beyond the rhetoric? What will you learn if you ask what “prepared for college and a career” means in the context of our classrooms? Unfortunately, not a whole lot. That’s because there is no consensus on what this preparation entails and what high schools should be doing to produce educated minds.
Why is this important? Because unless we can define what this means, efforts at school reform will wander and drift with no way to gauge success or failure. As the saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
Fortunately, we do have enough agreement to begin a productive conversation. Americans freely acknowledge that mastery of academic content is one aspect of preparation for higher education and the workforce. But their vision includes other factors as well. And they believe that the debate about school reform should focus on more than increased rigor or enhanced accountability — two critical goals that must be augmented, not abandoned. Read more>>