Education Secretary Arne Duncan believes we have what amounts to a “once-in-a-couple-of-generations opportunity” to “push a very, very strong reform agenda” for the nation’s schools. His view is based, in part, on the Obama administration’s intention to spend billions of additional dollars on public education, though Duncan acknowledges that money alone is not the answer. He also says the country has arrived at a moment when we have the necessary political will to make tough changes.
Not least of the problems that must be addressed can be found in America’s high schools, where, Duncan said in a speech last week, “Our expectations for our teenagers in this country are far too low.”
In fact, change has never come easily to America’s approximately 23,800 public high schools. Since the alarming report A Nation at Risk was published in 1983, we have had “wave after wave of reform”- and little progress, according to Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution.