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
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Tony Wagner is co-director of the Change Leadership Group (CLG) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He consults to schools, districts, and foundations and served as Senior Advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He has appeared on The Today Show, NPR, McNeil/Lehrer News Hour and writes for Education Week. A former high school teacher and principal, he is the author of Change Leadership, Making the Grade, and How Schools Change. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Howard Gardner, author of Five Minds for the Future and Multiple Intelligences
“In this persuasive book, Wagner delineates what skills are needed in a globalized era, why most American schools can’t nurture them, and how today’s schools could be transformed to cultivate tomorrow’s skills.”
Jay Mathews, Washington Post
“I consider this book more of an experience than a read…[Tony Wagner] is a likely leader for the new era.”
“If I had the money, I would buy a copy of this book for every governor, congressman and senator; this book presents a far better direction for education politics than the current thoughts from Washington… The Global Achievement Gap is well-reasoned and well-written…If you’re a parent who is serious about your child’s education and course content, buy this book and use the Survival Skills as your guide.”
“Wagner’s book raises many important questions about both the state and purpose of secondary education in America.”
“Through Wagner’s story-telling style, using cases and examples, we were impressed by his profound insight and his patience in sharing what he has realized.”
Anne L. Bryant, Executive Director, National School Boards Association
“Every school board member, administrator, teacher and parent in the nation should read this book.”
U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye
“ The Global Achievement Gap is a ‘must’ read for all policymakers.”
Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education, Stanford University
“Tony Wagner takes us deep inside the black box of school curriculum in a way 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.”
Mel Levine, author of A Mind at a Time
“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.”
Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School Professor and author of America the Principled and Confidence
“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.”
Clayton Christensen, Professor, Harvard Business School, and author of Disrupting Class
“Parents, teachers, administrators and policy makers urgently need to understand what Wagner is telling us.”
Dr. Richard C. Atkinson, President Emeritus, University of California
“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?”
Larry Stupski, Chairman, Stupski Foundation
“Tony Wagner makes a strong case for rethinking our entire approach to education, and his argument is persuasive.”
Charles Fadel, Global Lead for Education, Cisco
“This insightful book calls for a much needed dialogue between educators, business leaders and policy makers on the future of American education. By using many real-life examples, the book is a very readable starting point for that discussion.”
John Abele, Founding Chairman, Boston Scientific, Board Chair, FIRST
“Kudos to Tony Wagner.”
Dr. Arthur E. Levine, President, The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
“ The Global Achievement Gap offers a simple, readable, intelligent and compelling analysis of the needs of our schools and the ways to address them.”
Deborah Meier, author of The Power of Their Ideas
“It’s always an occasion for delight when Tony Wagner writes a new book. He’s done it again by provoking us to think about the reasons behind the current furor over school achievement.”
Keith R. McFarland, Author of #1 Wall Street Journal and New York Times Bestseller, The Breakthrough Company
“Tony Wagner is not just talking about our schools here—he is talking about the future 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 Sawyer, author of Group Genius
“This important book is a wake-up call for America. Wagner shows that even the best schools are failing to teach the necessary skills for the 21st century. Students memorize academic content, and get high scores on standardized tests, but they never learn how to think, solve problems, or be creative. The stories about the few remarkable schools that are transforming classroom instruction and pointing the way to the future are compelling. Every parent, teacher, politician, and executive should read this book.”
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