Thomas Friedman and 'Surpassing Shanghai' on Fixing Schools
“We live in an age when education is such a driver of economic growth, and economic growth is a driver of national security,” New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman told me this week when I asked if he still stood by his statement that if he were starting over, he’d be an education reporter. Friedman, who co-wrote That Used to Be Us with Michael Mandelbaum, was in Washington, D.C., to join National Center for Education and the Economy President Marc Tucker for a discussion of what ails the nation’s schools, as well as a book signing (Tucker edited the recently published Surpassing Shanghai: An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems). Both men described a system flailing in a state of crisis and potentially exacerbating its circumstances even as it attempts to enact solutions.
“The U.S. is now in the grips of a reform agenda that has virtually nothing in common with the countries with the most successful education systems,” Tucker said. He and Friedman offered some keen—and counterintuitive—insights on what it might take to keep American schools competitive in a “hyperconnected” world, as Friedman described our society. You can read more about their discussion of school reform, teacher quality and global competitiveness at EdMedia Commons.