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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Reform Starts Here: The Goals of this Group

Reform Starts Here: The Goals of this Group

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Almost everyone agrees that we need to reform education in America. But where to start? There are so many issues at play, including (but not limited to) budget crises, standardized tests, people with no education background in key leadership roles, and an onslaught of new technologies that change so quickly they're obsolete before you even unpack them. To add to the confusion, there will soon be a greater public spotlight on education with the release of a few documentaries, including "Race to Nowhere," "The Lottery, and "Waiting for Superman," which was made by the same folks who made "An Inconvenient Truth." All three of these films are very critical of our existing educational system. "Race to Nowhere" shows the "dark side of America's achievement culture" by highlighting the health and social problems that arise when schools are so focused on test scores. "The Lottery" and "Waiting for Superman" share a pro-charter, anti-union message that is sure to stir up all manner of rancor among teachers, parents, administrators, union officials and anyone else who cares about education. So, we expect there to be a loud public outcry, and one that doesn't necessarily understand the nuances and realities on the ground in education. We created this group to focus a discussion about reform that's realistic, constructive and proactive. What, in your opinion, are some of the factors that need to be addressed? If you want to add a topic, please feel free to start a new discussion if there isn't one here yet. Let's take this opportunity to get ahead of the impending public spotlight to understand the issues that are preventing ed reform, and educate the broader public about how to best move forward.

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Vicki Abeles's picture
Vicki Abeles
Producer of the documentary, Race to Nowhere

Thanks for getting this started Betty. Some books to consider as the dialogue around the transformation of education gets underway: Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education and Yong Zhao's Catching Up or Leading the Way: American Education in the Age of Globalization.

Betty Ray's picture
Betty Ray
Director of Programming and Innovation
Staff

Great list, Vicki. Thanks for adding those. Would love to hear others' recommendations for books, websites, conferences, and/or other media that might be useful.

Another to add: The community of educators and parents that's sprung up around the various twitter chats is full of supportive, passionate and forward-thinking folks who are working towards implementing reform on various fronts - from within the classroom to nationwide.

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