public perception maddening results

Maddening Results: Joel Klein does a dandy job of summing up two recent books, Steven Brill's Class Warfare: Inside the Fight To Fix America's Schools and Terry M. Moe's Special Interest: Teacher Unions and America's Public Schools. Brill so believes that unions must be part of any plans to revamp schools, he suggests American Federation of Teachers' Randi Weingarten should be the next chancellor of NYC's public schools. By contrast, Moe contends that the unions are crippling education but technology can help. Klein sees a role for everybody: parents "must become more engaged and enraged," reformers need to enlist the next generation of teachers and treat them like professionals, the public needs to back aggressive reform and the politicians who go for it.

Galvanizing public sentiment is a stiff order, particularly because a new PDK/Gallup poll (based on a survey of about 1,000 Americans 18 years and older) suggests that half of Americans seem to think their local schools rate an "A" or "B," even though only 17% would give that grade to other schools around the country. And there's widespread ambivalence around technology in schools: 2 out of 3 Americans think e-books are appropriate for high school students; half want to see them in middle schools and only a quarter approve of ebooks in elementary school. See the whole report here.

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