Thursday, March 22, 2007

'Tough Choices' Skills Commission Report Worth Reading

A report by the Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce (National Center on Education and the Economy) entitled 'Tough Choices or Tough Times' has some wonderful recommendations that should be taken in serious consideration. Therein, Richard W. Riley, the former Secretary of Education states “The question this report raises is whether our country has the kind of education system that is needed to maintain America’s standard of living for our children, our grandchildren, and future generations. I very much hope that it will spark the kind of tough, honest debate on that topic that it so richly deserves.” Another notable quote from the report is by Thomas W. Payzant, Former Superintendent of Boston Public Schools. He states “Piecemeal reform of public education in America is insufficient to deliver the promise that every child will receive an education that leads to a good job, productive life, and responsible citizenship. The New Commission Report is a coherent, comprehensive, systemic plan for how to enable public education in America to be the best in the world.” The report concludes that our current public K-12 education system cannot be fixed, and therefore it must be replaced.

The generalization which emerges relates to what I have been advocating for a very long time. Every high school graduate has to be competent not only in the two languages (English and mathematics), but also must be able to analyze, synthesize, use value judgment, and be able to communicate effectively using modern technology. In addition to these outcomes, every student must graduate with a saleable skill to be employed, should he or she choose not to go on to higher education. In order to achieve all of the above, we must reorganize and restructure public education to accommodate every learner.

For the executive summary of the report: Tough Choices or Tough Times - Executive Summary

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