“The real safety of our nation is preparing this next generation so that they can take our place and be the leaders of the world.”
Geoffrey Canada, Founder of Harlem Children’s Zone
Why are we still clinging to an education system that has barely changed in 50 years and is still failing millions of our nation’s children? One of our nation’s leading educational innovators, Geoffrey Canada of Harlem Children’s Zone, dares you to look at the data, think about those who the system is failing, and advocate for changes to help more of America’s students excel.
1) “America cannot wait another 50 years to get this right.” We need to prioritize tackling the achievement gap today. When America cares about something, or when our national security is threatened, we’ll spend a trillion dollars without blinking an eye. Our future is at stake here.
2) “We know that the problem begins immediately.” Access to high quality early childhood education makes a huge difference, especially for poor kids. Ages 0-3 are critical for the development of young minds. The academic achievement gap starts early, before many kids are even in school.
3) “Teachers need real information right now about what’s happening to their kids.” Testing is critical because it helps us know what’s working and what isn’t. But teachers need access to the best available data in real time, so they can respond to their students’ needs in real time.
4) “We have to innovate.” The current public education system is failing our kids, especially poor kids. We have to try new things. Some people will resist changes — like charter schools, for example — and will point to indiviudal failures as examples of why we shouldn’t innovate. We can’t let them have the final say. We have to push forward, keep trying new things and let the data be our guide.
5) “I do it because you do it for your kid.” We should prioritize these changes, not just because the data supports it (which is does) but because it’s what all parents want for their kids. We should do it because we love kids.