Joel Klein’s WSJ OpEd explains what won’t work, what will work, and the obstacles to get there.
Over the past eight years, I’ve been privileged to serve as chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, the nation’s largest school district…. [O]ur department has made significant changes and progress. Along the way, I’ve learned some important lessons about what works in public education, what doesn’t, and what (and who) are the biggest obstacles to the transformative changes we still need.
First, it is wrong to assert that students’ poverty and family circumstances severely limit their educational potential…. Take Harlem Success Academy, a charter school with all minority, mostly high-poverty students admitted by lottery. It performs as well as our gifted and talented schools that admit kids based solely on demanding tests.
Second, traditional proposals for improving education—more money, better curriculum, smaller classes, etc.—aren’t going to get the job done…. [T]here must be “consequences if children or adults don’t perform.”
Finally, we need to innovate, as every successful sector of our economy does. The [current] classroom model [is what] we have used since the 19th century,
We know how to fix public education. The question is whether we have the political will to do it.