The Best Schools In The World Do This.
Interesting article by Cory Turner at NPR:
For a moment, let’s pretend.
That everything you know about America’s public education system — the bitter politics and arcane funding policies, the rules and countless reasons our schools work (or don’t) the way they do — is suddenly negotiable.
Pretend the obstacles to change have melted like butter on hot blacktop.
Now ask yourself: What could — and should — we do differently?
This question drove a bipartisan group of more than two-dozen state lawmakers and legislative staffers on an 18-month journey. Their mission: study some of the world’s top-performing school systems, including those in Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, Ontario, Poland, Shanghai, Singapore and Taiwan.
Today the group, part of the National Conference of State Legislatures, released its findings, titled No Time to Lose: How to Build a World-Class Education System State by State.
The report is full of takeaways. Here are three of the biggest:
1: More Help For The Youngest Learners
In the U.S., poverty is a powerful drag on the youngest learners, with too many children showing up to kindergarten both hungry and lacking important cognitive and noncognitive skills.
Research suggests that preschool, when done well, can have a profound impact on children’s lives, but too often in the U.S. it’s done badly or not at all.
“Woefully inadequate” is how Roy Takumi describes America’s early education system. Takumi is a state representative from Hawaii, a Democrat and a member of the NCSL study group.
Of the top performers they studied, Takumi says, “all of them invest in early education.” Ontario, for example, offers free, full-day kindergarten not only to 5-year-olds but to 4-year-olds too.
The differences continue once America’s disadvantaged students reach first grade. There, they’re often in poorer schools with low-performing teachers.
Not so elsewhere. In many of the world’s top school systems, according to the report, “providing additional resources to schools serving disadvantaged, struggling students is a priority. More teachers are typically allocated to such schools, with the best teachers serving in the most challenged ones.”
2: . . .