Despite the best efforts of educators, our nation's schools are dangerously obsolete. Instead of teaching students to be critical thinkers and problem-solvers, we are asking them to memorize facts for multiple choice tests. This problem isn't limited to low-income school districts: even our top schools aren't teaching or testing the skills that matter most in the global knowledge economy. Our teens leave school equipped to work only in the kinds of jobs that are fast disappearing from the American economy. Meanwhile, young adults in India and China are competing with our students for the most sought-after careers around the world.
Education expert Tony Wagner has conducted scores of interviews with business leaders and observed hundreds of classes in some of the nation's most highly regarded public schools. He discovered a profound disconnect between what potential employers are looking for in young people today (critical thinking skills, creativity, and effective communication) and what our schools are providing (passive learning environments and uninspired lesson plans that focus on test preparation and reward memorization).
He explains how every American can work to overhaul our education system, and he shows us examples of dramatically different schools that teach all students new skills. In addition, through interviews with college graduates and people who work with them, Wagner discovers how teachers, parents, and employers can motivate the &"net"; generation to excellence.
An education manifesto for the twenty-first century, The Global Achievement Gap is provocative and inspiring. It is essential reading for parents, educators, business leaders, policy-makers, and anyone interested in seeing our young people succeed as employees and citizens.
For additional information about the author and the book, please go to www.schoolchange.org
About the Author
Tony Wagner is senior research fellow at the Learning Policy Institute, and formerly held a variety of positions at Harvard University for more than twenty years. Wagner is the author of numerous books, including Most Likely to Succeed and the national bestseller Creating Innovators.
"Parents, teachers, administrators and policy makers urgently need to understand what Wagner is telling us."—Clayton M. Christensen, author of Disrupting Class and The Innovator's Dilemma
"I consider this book more of an experience than a read.... [Wagner] is a likely leader for the new era."—Washington Post
"Tony Wagner is not just talking about our schools here--he is talking about the future of our nation. The Global Achievement Gap cuts through the complexity and partisan posing so often associated with this genre. It is a powerful call to action, and a roadmap of how to fundamentally rethink the education of our children. If we ignore it, we do so at great peril."—Keith R. McFarland, author of #1 Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestseller The Breakthrough Company: How Everyday Companies Become Extraordinary Performers
"The Global Achievement Gap is thoughtful and inspirational.... This book will capture your head, your heart, and I hope, your future actions. This is a very important book for anyone who cares about preparing young people for success in a rapidly changing global society. Every school board member, administrator teacher, and parent in the nation should read this book."—Anne L. Bryant, Executive Director, National School Boards Association
"Tony Wagner takes us deep inside the black box of school curriculum in a way very few authors have done. What do we mean by rigor? By 21st century skills? Wagner shows us concretely what thinking skills really are, how current approaches to 'raising standards' cannot get us there, and what will. Everyone concerned with American education should read this book."—Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education, Stanford University
"Tony Wagner has managed to penetrate the jargon and over-simplified responses to the pervasive underachievement that exists among our students. He has charted an important new direction and given us a way to get there. This book deserves to be powerfully influential."—Mel Levine, author of A Mind at a Time
"Tony Wagner argues persuasively that old ways of teaching are completely unsuited to new ways of working. The Global Achievement Gap should be grabbed by business leaders to guide a much-needed conversation with educators."—Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor, author of American the Principled and Confidence
"This book is a 'must read' for the change agents in public education. Wagner presents a compelling case for rapid and urgent change in the present American education system."—Betty Burks, deputy superintendent, San Antonio Independent School District
"The Global Achievement Gap is a lucid--and scary--book. It chronicles how policies that intend to improve our schools are actually shutting down their abilities to help students learn how to think. Parents, teachers, administrators and policymakers urgently need to understand what Wagner is telling us."—Clayton Christensen, professor, Harvard Business School, author of Disrupting Class
"In The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner offers a thoughtful analysis of where we are in American public education. (behind the times), and what we need to do to adapt to the future that is upon us. Drawing upon years of accumulated wisdom as a teacher, principal, trainer, and well-traveled observer of schools, Wagner builds a persuasive case for change in the way we approach schooling, grounded in the question: what does it mean to be an educated person in the 21st century?"—Dr. Richard C. Atksinson, president emeritus, University of California