Moving America Forward

Ask the Experts: 7 Ways to Improve K-12 Public Education

April 16, 2014
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Ask the Experts: 7 Ways to Improve K-12 Public Education
Michael Kirby Smith/Redux
Yes, public education in America is more expensive and less effective than in other countries. So how can we turn it around? Our panel weighs in.

The United States bests almost every country in the world in many areas, but when it comes to educational achievement, American students are just plain mediocre. According to the most recent (2012) results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) — a test of critical thinking administered every three years to about half a million 15-year-olds around the globe — U.S. students are lagging behind those in many other countries, including China, Finland and Korea, in math, reading and science. Compared with other developed nations, the U.S. performs average or below. Worse, among the 34 countries surveyed, the U.S. school system ranked fifth in spending per student, at $115,000. That’s a hefty chunk of change for so-so results.

PISA scores aren’t the only measure of an educational system, but most experts agree that American schools are in need of a major overhaul. The question is: What kinds of reforms will result in lasting, meaningful changes?

As part of NationSwell’s Ask the Expert series, we asked our panel to share their ideas on how best to improve K-12 public education. Read on for their thoughts, and then join the conversation by leaving your own ideas in the comments box.

MORE: The Radical School Reform That Just Might Work

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