Half a dozen years ago Americans rediscovered the failure of their public schools. A series of governmental and foundation reports warned that the mediocrity of elementary and secondary school education endangered America’s competitiveness in the global economy.
There was little debate either about the diagnosis of America’s educational ills or about remedies: Low standards, watered-down curricula, and incompetent or hopeless teachers were blamed for our ills. Higher standards, central control of curricula, intensified accountability, longer school years, and more homework were accepted as solutions....
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