Finn speaks to Dayton Rotary Club
Last week Fordham President Chester E. Finn, Jr. was in Ohio and stopped in Dayton (Fordham’s hometown and his) to give a speech to the Dayton Rotary Club. The speech, Reforming America’s Schools: Where Things Stand in 2011, highlighted the major education reform efforts and struggles associated with them since the mid-1980s. Finn stated that the major goals of education reform have centered on three areas: boosting academic achievement, narrowing learning gaps between the “haves” and “have nots,” and increasing choice options to allow for poor and disadvantaged youth to escape failing schools. Finn pointed out that:
Those priorities have given rise to a tsunami of standards-based reform, including statewide academic standards, assessment and accountability systems, as well as considerable federal aid and pressure in this direction via Goals 2000, No Child Left Behind, and much more, including, most recently, the Common Core or “national” academic standards for reading and math and the Race to the Top portion of the economic stimulus act.
Finn went on to recognize that while all of these reform efforts should be applauded, they have not yet gotten us where we need to be.
Whether you’re looking at domestic or international test results or high school graduation rates, you find our educational outcomes essentially flat—save for a smallish upward blip in math in the earlier grades—and you find other countries outpacing us on a number of key indicators.
Finn discussed several roadblocks currently standing in the way of reform efforts. Specifically, he highlighted eight major areas that help contribute to the lack of consensus surrounding education reform. Among these include a backlash against testing, entities such as unions, school boards, and ed schools who don’t want to be held accountable for results, and a sense of complacency with subpar results.
Read Finn’s speech here.
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