Don't Wait -- Take Action

By Nora Carr

Public education faces a fall tsunami as well-funded groups -- many with pro-charter school reform agendas -- issue scathing reports on America’s failing schools, particularly those serving urban areas.

From the Fordham Institute’s America’s Best (and Worst) Cities for School Reform: Attracting Entrepreneurs and Change Agents to NBC’s “Education Nation” summit and Davis Guggenheim’s documentary film, “Waiting for Superman,” there’s a clarion call for a shake-up in how public schools are run.

These exposés paint a searing portrait of children trapped in the nation’s worst traditional public schools juxtaposed against the hope and high expectations of a handful of top charter schools.

While few would disagree with District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee when she says in “Superman” that these kids are “getting a crappy education,” the underlying “charters are good, public schools are bad” mantra is too simplistic.

Dramatic improvement in student learning is needed across the board in public schools today, not because most schools are inherently broken but because the demands of today’s global economy are so much higher than what those schools were designed to deliver.

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