How_to_Bring_Our_Schools_Out_of_the_20th_Century - T...

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Unformatted text preview: T here’s a dark little joke exchanged by educators with a dissident streak: Rip Van Winkle awakens in the 21st cen- tury after a hundred-year snooze and is, of course, utterly be- wildered by what he sees. Men and women dash about, talking to small metal devices pinned to their ears. Young people sit at home on sofas, moving miniature athletes around on elec- tronic screens. Older folk defy death and disability with metronomes in their chests and with hips made of metal and plastic. Airports, hospitals, shopping malls—every place Rip goes just baffles him. But when he finally walks into a schoolroom, the old man knows exactly where he is. “This is a school,” he declares. “We used to have these back in 1906. Only now the blackboards are green.” { By CLAUDIA WALLIS and SONJA STEPTOE } How to Bring Our Schools Out of the 20th Century s o c i e t y DECEMBER 18, 2006 Reprinted through the courtesy of the Editors of T ime Magazine © 2005 Time Inc. a foreign-language class and where the so- cial-studies curriculum tends to fixate on U.S. history. Thinking outside the box. Jobs in the new economy—the ones that won’t get out- sourced or automated—“put an enormous premium on creative and innovative skills, seeing patterns where other people see only chaos,” says Marc Tucker, an author of the skills-commission report and president of the National Center on Education and the Economy. Traditionally that’s been an American strength, but schools have become less daring in the back-to-basics climate of nclb . Kids also must learn to think across disciplines, since that’s where most new breakthroughs are made. It’s interdiscipli- nary combinations—design and technology, mathematics and art—“that produce You- Tube and Google,” says Thomas Friedman, the best-selling author of The World Is Flat . TIME, DECEMBER 18, 2006 American schools aren’t exactly frozen in time, but considering the pace of change in other areas of life, our public schools tend to feel like throwbacks. Kids spend much of the day as their great-grandparents once did: sitting in rows, listening to teachers lecture, scribbling notes by hand, reading from text- books that are out of date by the time they are printed. A yawning chasm (with an empha- sis on yawning) separates the world inside the schoolhouse from the world outside. For the past five years, the national con- versation on education has focused on read- ing scores, math tests and closing the “achievement gap” between social classes. This is not a story about that conversation. This is a story about the big public conver- sation the nation is not having about educa- tion, the one that will ultimately determine not merely whether some fraction of our children get “left behind” but also whether an entire generation of kids will fail to make the grade in the global economy because they can’t think their way through abstract problems, work in teams, distinguish good information from bad or speak a language...
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course EDUCATION 412 taught by Professor . during the Spring '08 term at Wagner.

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How_to_Bring_Our_Schools_Out_of_the_20th_Century - T...

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