September 2, 2008
The story we are told.
experiments in Stephen, by
physics and contrast,
chemistry and retreated from a
reading aloud geometry problem
from Sister Carrie. on the blackboard
and the caption
amused class with
Seated at a
Stephen tells us "I
type about one
Zhao, 2008 word a minute."
Our Nation is at risk. Our
science, and technological
innovation is being
overtaken by competitors
throughout the world.
foundations of our society
are presently being
eroded by a rising tide of
mediocrity that threatens
our very future as a
Nation and a people.
We are raising a new
generation of Americans that
is scientifically and
1995 TIMSS Grade 8 Mathematics Performance
Nations with Average Scores Nations with Average Scores Not Nations with Average Scores Significantly
Significantly Higher than the US Significantly Different than the US Lower than the US
Nation Average Nation Average Nation Average
Singapore 643 Thailand 522 Lithuania 477
Korea 607 Israel 522 Cyprus 474
Japan 605 (Germany) 509
Hong Kong 588 Portugal 454
New Zealand 508 Iran, Islamic Republic 428
Belgium (Fl) 565
Czech Republic 564 (Kuwait) 392
Slovak Republic 547 Norway 503
Switzerland 545 (Denmark) 502
South Africa 354
(Netherlands) 541 United States 500
(Slovenia) 541 (Scotland) 498
(Bulgaria) 540 Latvia (LSS) 493
(Austria) 539 Spain 487
France 538 Iceland 487
Hungary 537 (Greece) 484
Russian Fed. 535 (Romania) 482
(Belgium (Fr)) 526
Two Million Minutes, vividly reveals that American students are no longer “at risk” of falling
behind -- they are now clearly behind even Third World students in India and China, in addition to
being in 24th place among developed countries.
By comparing how these students prioritize their time (approximately four years or “two million
minutes” of high school), the film demonstrates that the typical student in the U.S. spends much
less time on his/her education and gives less thought to future career opportunities than his/her
global peers in India and China.
--2 million minutes
Despite the billions of dollars being spent on ‘education reform’ since 1983, the U.S. has
implemented none of the meaningful recommendations of the 1983 report and as a result has
seen no real improvements to our math or science education system.
----Robert Compton,2008, creator and executive producer of the documentary Two Million
Two decades later, A Nation at Risk remains significant in terms of setting the debate and
ushering in an era of reform in education, but its goals have not yet been realized. The changes
wrought by twenty years of task forces, committees, and study groups have not produced the
hoped-for improvement in student achievement. Few of the commission's recommendations were
properly implemented, and many of those that were proved too timid to bring about effective
--Diane Ravitch 2003
U.S. treading water in reading
Bloomberg News Service
Russia, Hong Kong and Singapore shot to the top of 45
countries and provinces participating in a fourth-grade
reading test, while England fell below the United States,
according to results released yesterday. (Honolulu
Advertiser, November 29, 2007)
U.S. Students Fall Short in Math and Science
Teenagers in a majority of industrialized nations taking part in a leading
international exam showed greater scientific understanding than
students in the United States—and they far surpassed their American
peers in mathematics. (Education Week, December 4, 2007)
But the story can’t be left there.
2007-2008 Global Competitiveness Index
United Japan Korea China India Russia
Source: http:// www.worldmapper.org/
World Population Distribution
Royalties Wealth DistributionExports
World and License Fees
World Tertiary Education Enrollment Zhao, 2008
What do other countries
In December 2002, the Chinese Ministry of Education issued a policy designed to reform
assessment and evaluation in elementary and secondary schools. This document, entitled
Ministry of Education’s Notice Regarding Furthering the Reform of Evaluation and
Assessment Systems in Elementary and Secondary Schools, calls for alternative
assessments that go beyond simply testing academic knowledge. It specifically forbids
ranking school districts, schools, or individual students based on test results or making test
High school curriculum reform
Among the problems targeted by the reforms:
•Overemphasis on knowledge transmission
•Too many required and uniform courses, which limited students’ individual development
•Too much overlapping content, resulting in excessive coursework burden on students
•Overemphasis on the value of individual discipline, resulting in too little interdisciplinary and social
•More electives, fewer required courses
•Local subjects/school based curriculum
•New subjects (art, environment, technology, etc)
• Since 2001, Japan has been working to implement its Education Plan for the
21st Century, which has three major objectives:
– The first is “enhancing emotional education,” that is, cultivating students as
emotionally well-rounded human beings.
– The second objective is “realizing a school system that helps children develop their
individuality and gives them diverse choices” by moving towards a diverse, flexible
educational system that encourages individuality and cultivates creativity.
– The third is “promoting a system in which the school’s autonomy is respected”
through decentralizing educational administration, enhancing local autonomy, and
enabling independent self-management at the school level. (Iwao, 2000)
Revised 7th National Curriculum
The ultimate goal is to cultivate creative, autonomous, and self-driven
human resources who will lead the era's developments in information,
knowledge and globalization.
•Promote fundamental and basic education that fosters sound human
beings and nurtures creativity
•Help students build self-leading capacity so that they well meet the
challenges of today's globalization and information development
• Implement learner-oriented education that suits the students' capability,
aptitude and career development needs
• Ensure expanded autonomy for the local community and schools in
curriculum planning and operation.
Since 1997, Singapore another frequent high flyer in international comparative studies, has
engaged in a major curriculum reform initiative. Entitled Thinking Schools, Learning Nation, this
initiative aims to develop all students into active learners with critical thinking skills and to
develop a creative and critical thinking culture within schools. Its key strategies include:
• The explicit teaching of critical and creative thinking skills;
• The reduction of subject content;
• The revision of assessment modes; and;
• A greater emphasis on processes instead of on outcomes when appraising schools.
• In 2005, the Ministry of Education in Singapore released another major policy document
Nurturing Every Child: Flexibility and Diversity in Singapore Schools, which called for a
more varied curriculum, a focus on learning rather than teaching, and more autonomy for
schools and teachers (Ministry of Education, 2005).
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
Swanni's Annual 'Best & Worst' HDTV List
1. Teri Hatcher 1. Jessica Alba
2. Demi Moore 2. Eva Longoria
3. Donald Trump 3. Anna Kournikova
4. Heather Locklear 4. Ben Affleck
5. David Letterman 5. Ashton Kutcher
6. George W. Bush 6. Marcia Cross
7. Ray Liotta 7. Halle Berry
8. Sandra Bullock 8. Jessica Simpson
9. Bill Clinton 9. Nicole Kidman
10. Clint Eastwood 10. Angelina Jolie
"Say bud, can you tell me
where the illiterate club is?"
What’s taught in schools
What knowledge is of most worth?
--Herbert Spencer, 1859
(W)hy would the world’s employers pay us
more than they have to pay the Indians to
do their work? They would be willing to do
that only if we could offer something that
the Chinese and Indians, and others,
--New Commission on the Skills of the American
Workforce (2007). Tough Choices or Tough Times
Because of the Death of Distance
As electrically contracted, the globe is no more
than a village.
Marshall McLuhan, 1964
“Honey,” I confided, “I think the world is flat.”
Thomas Friedman, 2005
It’s a Big Job to Make the Mini:
Global Supply Chain
Therefore we need to move into niche areas where they will not
be able to completely replace us for quite some time.
---Lee Kuan Yew, 2007
Daniel H. Pink (2005).A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to
the Conceptual Age
A Whole New Mind
– Literal Asia
– Functional Automation
– Textual Abundance
– Analytic Conceptual Age:
Essential Aptitudes in the
Five Minds for the Future
• Disciplinary Mind • Respectful Mind
– Mastery – Awareness and
• Schools of Thought appreciation of differences
• Professional Craft
• Ethical Mind
• Synthesizing Mind – Fulfillment of
– Integrate Ideas responsibilities
• Creating Mind
– Uncover new ideas
– Clarify new ideas
The completely untraveled person will view all foreigners as
the savage regards a member of another herd. But the man
who has traveled, or who has studied international politics, will
have discovered that, if his herd is to prosper, it must, to some
degree, become amalgamated with other herds.
--Bertrand Russell, 1950
American companies lose an estimated $2 billion a year due to inadequate
cross-cultural guidance for their employees in multicultural situations. A
2002 survey of large U.S. corporations found that nearly 30 percent of the
companies believed they had failed to exploit fully their international
business opportunities due to insufficient personnel with international
skills. Microsoft’s Windows95 was banned by India because its Time Zone
map put the region of Kashmir outside the boundaries of India. (Committee
for Economic Development, 2006)
Are we preparing citizens for the
• Unique talents
• Creativity, Imagination, and Passion
• Cross-cultural competencies
– Understanding the globe
– Foreign languages
– Understanding other cultures
• Global responsibilities
What does it take?
Personalize education: Is there a
Creativity and discipline: Skills,
knowledge, and attitude
Globalization: Schools as global
• Living in the digital world
– Community leaders
• Making a living in the digital world
– Digital workers
– Global workers
• (Re)Creating the digital world
What can we do?
Assume Moral Responsibility of Public
Public education does not serve a public. It
creates a public.
The philosophy of the classroom today will
be the philosophy of government tomorrow.
Be informed of changes.
Model attitudes and behaviors.
Lead changes in curriculum, policy, and
events in your schools.
Advocate changes in the state and the
Imagine a District where…
People work together to
improve instruction in all
People strive to
personalize instruction for
People model professionalism
creating a healthy and
supportive environment for
students to learn.
People treat each other with
respect and learn from their
People believe that
communication is the most
important subject we teach.
People take risks and
encourage students to take
People employ technology as
a tool to instruct.
Students turn on to
education when they come
through our doors.
Can you imagine?
Is it or could it be the
Watertown Public Schools?
We can only do this together!