Synopses & Reviews
Dramatically reframing the debate on education in America, "Making the Grade," shows why today's test-driven reforms will fail and points the way toward a system that benefits all students.
One of America's most compelling voices for education reform and a long-time teacher, Tony Wagner argues that Bush's efforts to increase schools' "accountability" - narrowly defined as more high-stakes, multiple-choice tests - are sabotaging both teachers' and students' drive to achieve. Worse still, the tests are diverting our schools from teaching what matters most for success and happiness in adult life: good work habits, motivation, curiosity, and respect.
"Should schools teach values? What role should tests play in the system? How do we motivate students?"
These are the fundamental questions around which Wagner shapes a strategy for reform. These schools he calls New Village Schools, are centered on "the 4 C's": competency-based curriculum, core values, collaboration, and community.
To truly reinvent American education, he argues, we must stop the senseless pursuit of facile answers to standardized test questions. Instead we must ensure that all students have the skills and values they need for work and citizenship in a rapidly changing world.
This book provides a guide for a long-overdue public dialogue about why and how we need to reinvent our nation's schools. How has the world changed for our children; what do all students need to know in light of these changes; how do we hold students and schools accountable for results; what do good schools look like; and what must leaders do to create more of these schools? These are some of the questions that drive this book. The answers emerging to these questions may surprise many. The most successful public schools of the 21st century look a lot more like our 19th century village schools than our current factory model of schooling. This book describes these new village schools that have been created in the last decade and suggests that they are a prototype for the schools of the future.