Finding depressing education news is easy. The recession, combined with the waning of federal stimulus money, is about to trigger hundreds of thousands of teacher layoffs–an “education catastrophe,” warns Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
The layoffs will play out against a background of flat national reading scores and mediocre showings on international education rankings. Looming behind everything: the country’s much-debated school reform law, No Child Left Behind, has fallen into disrepute.
None of this can be sugarcoated; yet dwelling on the negatives masks some significant education breakthroughs that promise to pay dividends for years to come. Together they represent the country’s best shot at achieving President Obama’s ambitious goal of pushing the country back to the top of international education rankings–measured by college graduations by 2020.
These developments include breakthroughs on answering these questions: