A School of the Future
Coauthored by Tina Blythe
As if it were the weather, everyone is talking these days about the desperate need for educational reform in the United States. The reasons for this heightened concern are not difficult to identify. To begin with, there is the perceived economic challenge from Japan and other Pacific rim countries; no longer are we the undisputed industrial and scientific leader of the world.Added to this is the clear decline in literacy and common cultural knowledge as evidenced by a number of statistical indices, official "white papers," and the best-selling works of Allan Bloom and E. D. Hirsch.Finally, there is the virtual compulsion of Americans to reexamine the quality and mission of their schools at least once each generation.These and other pressures combine to make the current concern with education nearly inevitable. And yet, again like the weather, there is the considerable chance that the talk will remain mere talk, that each interested party will look to "others" to institute reform, and that, in the end, changes wrought in the educational system will be modest.
As I see it, American education is at a turning point.There are considerable pressures to move very sharply in the direction of "uniform schooling"; there is also the possibility that our educational system can embrace "individual-centered schooling." A struggle is underway at this moment about the probable direction in which the schools will veer.My own analysis of the scientific evidence indicates that we should as a