If Duncan's theory is true, why do many school districts across this nation attain high standards of excellence with the same funding and a full summer vacation? Why do Asian-American students consistently outscore their counterparts in this country, within the same school systems and with the same class times?
Moreover, shouldn't local parents and educators be the ones making decisions about curricula and scheduling rather than having to adhere to the mandated vagaries of the newest "reform" efforts from Washington? (Some charter and public schools already shorten summer vacations.)
There is, of course, no denying that many school systems in the nation are failing. Students often are trapped in them. They need help ... to get out.
And though it horrifies some among us that Slovenian eighth-graders, on average, are more proficient at algebra than our kids, the Slovenian economy does not reflect this aptitude. Our achievement never has been about math scores. It's about a system that allows productive citizens to thrive. Unlike in nations chock-full of whiz kids, in this country, adults work. Children play.
When we don't work, we import. Surely my kids -- if I can afford to send them to college -- will be taught by a product of the Indian educational system. I'm cool with that.
But just as certain, the president's advice would hold more weight if he started sending his own children to public schools before mandating that your child be stuck in one during his or her God-given summer vacation.
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