Every state in America would benefit from something like this—an honest appraisal of the present condition of its K–12 education combined with a bold, even arresting vision of how it should change over the next two decades.
The Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education was born in response to A Nation at Risk and, with a foreword-looking 1991 report, pointed the way toward the Bay State's much-praised education-reform act two years later.
What happened thereafter is widely known: with an entire suite of reforms in place (centered, I believe, on strong academic standards, a steadfast high-stakes assessment system, more rigorous requirements for teachers, and one of the country's better—though small—charter-school programs), the “Massachusetts Miracle” propelled that state to a level of educational performance that rivaled leading nations elsewhere on the globe.
The past few years, however, have seen some stagnation and backsliding on the ed-reform front in the Bay State, and the MBAE recognized that the time has come for a new kick in the pants. So they engaged Sir Michael Barber and his Brightlines colleague Simon Day to prepare a status report and road map to the future.
The result is now out, all 120 pages of it, and even a jaded report reader might fairly term it thrilling. It acknowledges the stagnation problem and depicts six gaps as the main challenges facing Massachusetts. To wit, the employability gap (a.k.a. the dearth of...