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Monday
Dec062010

The Weekly Standard

Book Review: Rules of Learning
The problem isn’t absence of money but absence of values.
By Joan Frawley Desmond

Over the past 18 months Race to the Top—the Obama administration’s $4.35 billion program designed to advance public school innovation and student achievement—has prompted furious  competition between state and local school districts, raising expectations that some sort of breakthrough in K-12 education may be at hand. Yet skeptics might be forgiven for harboring doubts about an imminent turnaround, despite the eye-popping stimulus-funded incentives and number-crunching requirements. As Davis Guggenheim’s Waiting for “Superman” makes clear, the absence of federal funding and mandates hasn’t been the problem.

Guggenheim targeted the teachers’ unions but set aside issues like rigorous academic standards and practices that inspire a school-wide culture of mutual respect and high achievement. The fine points of reform won’t keep movie audiences on the edge of their seats, but Samuel Casey Carter argues that school leaders imperil reform by ignoring foundational work and the ambitious, disciplined follow-through that produce change...

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