Why Our Education System Is Failing and What We Can Do About It


Wasting Minds coverRonald Wolk, founder and longtime editor of Education Week, and creator of Quality Counts, presents a sobering
message in this new book. As the
title suggests, Wolk outlines why twenty years of American education reform have
yielded no positive changes, hitting hard against standards-based learning, the
fetish with highly-effective teachers, our obsession with testing, and more.
Wolk proposes a second, parallel strategy—one he believes will upend the status
quo and challenge traditional notions of the role and capacity of the education
system. Specifically, he wants more individualized and experiential
instruction, school choice, and alternative teacher preparation. “I find it
hard to imagine that a new strategy would be any riskier or less effective than
the system we have now,” Wolk writes. “Why should new ideas bear the burden of
proof when the existing system is allowed to continue essentially unchanged
even though it is largely failing?”  Wolk’s
turnabout may not be as dramatic as Diane Ravitch’s, but it’s a significant shift
all the same: from a top-down standards-based reformer to a libertarian
grass-roots choice advocate. Read the book and enjoy the ride.

Ronald A. Wolk, Wasting
Minds: Why Our Education System Is Failing and What We Can Do About It
, (Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2011).