Commonwealth Magazine: “What Schools Should—and Shouldn't—Learn From Markets”

In this article from the Commonwealth Club of California's publication, Al Shanker discusses the need for schools to develop incentive systems that work to motivate both students and teachers. He sees lessons in corporate capitalism and in foreign education systems. He argues that gaining entrance into college should be more difficult and that employers should consider high school performance in hiring decisions. This would encourage students to work harder. He further urges that schools as a whole be rewarded for accomplishing educational goals, fostering a collaborative spirit among teachers. Citing a report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Shanker states that private schools do not educate students better than public schools; rather, the students who attend private schools are more advantaged to begin with than their public school peers. He sees this as proof that vouchers are not the best solution to the educational system's problems. Next Shanker answers questions from Club members on topics including tenure, tracking, national testing, teachers' unions, and President George H.W. Bush's performance on education. Throughout, Shanker urges innovation in the way students are taught.

4 pages
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