US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was in Mason, Ohio on November 9, 2011 and made some surprisingly candid – and disturbing – comments about the state of education in US schools.
Duncan certainly wants more money to feed his bureaucracy’s interest area (what bureaucrat ever wanted different?), but WCPO TV also reports:
“Duncan says it’s not all about increasing funding. He says throwing more money at broken system won’t do any good. He says we need to focus on reform by elevating the teaching profession, enhancing non-profit organizations like YMCA and Boys and Girls Club and exploring how technology can improve education.”
Some of Duncan’s key concerns:
• US students have fallen to 16th place ranking in recent international testing
• US education performance is flat, while other nations are improving
• Other countries only hire teachers from the top third of their college classes
Duncan claimed that other countries also out invest the US in education. That does not jibe with the latest OECD Education at a Glance report’s Chart B1.1 that shows US spending per pupil leads the world. Even if we look at each nation’s education spending as a proportion of its gross domestic product, only four nations exceed the US: Ireland, Korea, Israel and Norway (OECD Education at a Glance, Chart B2.1).
In any event, Duncan gets it; right now, our schools are not getting the job done. And, just throwing more money at our schools won’t get the job done, either.
We need some very fundamental changes, changes that seem to be getting blocked by “adult interests” that don’t help improve the situation. Furthermore, as Duncan points out, this issue isn’t just about schools. This is really a fight for our country, and that means every American has a dog in this fight.