Tough on Innovation

Paul Tough has a great op-ed in the NYTimes on the importance of innovation in education.  He presents a strong case for a federal role in innovation, building off of last week’s healthy round of blogging.  This point is particularly important:

“A certain skepticism with regard to innovation is always wise, especially in public education, where highly touted new programs often turn out to be disappointments. The problem is that for low-income and minority Americans, the status quo is a deepening calamity.”

In some of the arguments I read against innovation, there’s almost a sense of longing for a time when we – as a nation – were brilliantly executing on the promise of free, compulsory K-12 education for a 21st century world.  That’s never been the case, unfortunately, and it’s not actually what our systems of public education were even designed to do.  They were designed in the industrial age, for an industrial economy, in which education largely was segregated by race, income, and gender.

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