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Thoughts on the state of America’s education

All over the world this week, the death of Nelson Mandela and his weighty contributions to the advancement of human rights have been the focus of many discussions. Some of these discussions have been heated, and some have been cordial. Being an educator, I have found them all to be thought provoking. However, the detail about Mandela that riveted my attention the most is the email tag of a coworker who sent a totally unrelated article. The tag states, “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”  Thinking back, I have come to realize that the article is not so unrelated after all. It was an article by Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). President Weingarten stated, “It is frustrating and detrimental to our students that the United States is refusing to learn the lessons of the top-performing nations with its insistence on perpetuating an obviously failing strategy driven by testing,” He further said, “We must change course immediately and use the approaches that are embedded in the successful systems from Finland to Japan.” In other words, he is saying that we, the United States, need to arm our students with the appropriate tools which they need to be successful educationally, and stop giving them duds, I mean tests.


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