Gary Fenstermacher
Gary Fenstermacher

Americans have been reforming their public schools since the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635. Until a half-century ago, these reform efforts were mostly local. With the Soviets’ launch of Sputnik and the Supreme Court decision on school desegregation, educational reform became a national issue. More recently, as developed nations are routinely being compared with each other, it has become an international issue.

Many feel that little progress is being made despite huge government investments. Indeed, we’re often told that the US is far behind many other nations in such fields as math, science, and language proficiency. Yet despite the discouraging news, Americans continue to win the majority of Nobel prizes, lead the world in technical innovation, populate the world’s largest and most robust economy, and win accolades in a vast array of international competitions.

Why do we think our schools are doing so poorly when the country continues to excel? Is the talk about educational reform a hoax, just a way of diverting the national consciousness from more critical problems? Might it be an argument concocted to keep teacher pay low and school funding in check? Or is the reform agenda pointing to serious deficiencies, though perhaps not necessarily ones the media and legislatures like to talk about?

Want to explore what’s involved in getting educational reform right, in truly improving the quality and character of student outcomes? Gary Fenstermacher, former dean of Education at the University of Arizona, emeritus professor of education and philosophy at the University of Michigan and past president of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, will address the Arizona Senior Academy on this important subject next Thursday (Nov. 14) at 3:30 p.m.

Fenstermacher, a resident of Academy Village and a member of the Arizona Senior Academy, holds a B.A. and a Ph.D. from Cornell. His last ASA appearance, a four-part series on Western philosophy in January, drew capacity crowds, so reservations are encouraged.

Submitted by Stan Davis, Academy Village Volunteer

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What’s Wrong With Education Reform?: Nov. 2013