Improving Education in Schools and Corporations
In 1977, I observed in A Theory of Education that change in education was much like Brownian motion, as Toffler ( 1970) described it: constantly churning but going nowhere. I asserted then, and I would assert even more forcefully now, that this characterization is likely to persist unless educators in every educational setting, businesses as well as schools, seek to base change on a comprehensive theory of education. As noted in chapter 1, in spite of enormous increases in per-pupil expenditures on school education (even in inflation-corrected dollars), there is little evidence that schooling is improving in terms of the usual criteria of success, namely various achievement test measures. Moreover, we have noted repeatedly the limitations of standardized achievement testing and argued repeatedly that more powerful, more demanding standards of achievement are needed. One of the reasons I believe we have been making so little progress in improving education is that when our evaluation methods measure little more than trivial achievements, it is difficult to discern changes in programs that produce truly substantive changes in human understanding. We can and we must move toward the wider use of better evaluation measures.
It may have been argued that military expenditures restricted our opportunities to invest in education, but the Cold War is over now and military expenditures have declined enormously, especially in constant dollars, or as a percentage of our gross domestic product (GDP). Health care costs have soared far beyond inflation and now represent a new financial crisis; how much of these costs are a product of poor