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While the rest of the developed world has continued to improve their schools and student learning, America’s public education system has changed little since the 1970s. Once the standard of the world, U.S. schools now rank 20th in high school graduation rates, 24th in college graduation rates and 27th (out of 30 countries) in college graduation rates of scientists and engineers.
There are currently twice as many adults in the system, per student, and we spend three times more per student than we did 40 years ago. Many of the wrong people with the wrong training are placed into our classrooms, into administrative roles, and onto local school boards. This is not to say there are no quality teachers, administrators or school board members—certainly there are many who are committed and qualified. The problem is there nowhere near enough of them.
The Solution: The American Center for Transforming Education (ACTE) advocates for fundamental changes in teaching, leadership, and governance. State law controls each of these, so our proposed reforms require political courage by a select group of state leaders. Once this “system change” is successfully realized in one or two states, we believe it will be enacted in other states as well. Over time, we expect to transform the talent and performance of the people in the system, who will then lead to the transformation of our schools.