Consultant: US education needs to change

Sep 23, 2015

A representative of the National Center on Education and the Economy says he’s concerned about education in the United States.

Marc Tucker says the research shows the US falling farther and farther behind other countries.

"In many countries, high school graduates are two to three years ahead of the average American student when they leave high school," said Tucker.

Tucker says it’s a case where US education has been standing still – while other countries have changed and improved. He says the US should seriously consider some of the things they’re doing.

"One of the things they're doing is recruiting teachers from the top half of high school graduates," Tucker said. "We recruit ours from the bottom half."

Tucker says those countries offer their teachers much better compensation, as well as a real career in teaching.

"In the United States, if you start out as a teacher, you're doing the same job when you retire as you did on the first day you took the job," said Tucker. "That's not true in an increasing number of top performing countries."

Tucker says teachers in those countries actually have less student contact time than they do here. Instead, he says the teachers work as a team to make improvements – and that’s reflected in how well their students do.

As for any suggestions for the US educational system?

"Make a big investment in teachers, and create a profession of teaching that is very high-status," Tucker said. "That would attract some of the best people we can, and keep them. Second, create a world class, first rate instructional system. Then, redesign schools for the kinds of teachers we then have, enabling them to do their best work."

Tucker spoke to the North Dakota Legislature’s interim Education committee.

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