When I was sharing with one of my Green Valley, Arizona, friends the fact that I had recently completed writing a new book about our nation’s public schools, he politely but bluntly asked me a great question: “Since my kids are no longer in school, why should I be interested in reading it?” I thought about his question for a few seconds and then responded. I said that America’s Schools at a Turning Point: And how we THE PEOPLE can help shape their future is not just about our public schools. It is also about our country. It is about hope and trust and how the American people will put their differences aside and come together and make a difference when they are told the truth.
In rolling out this website and announcing my new book, I’m beginning to hear from a growing number of my non-educator friends. The hot topic for many of them is their concern and, in many instances, opposition to the Common Core Standards. This, of course, tracks with national polling and what is happening in many states where legislation has been introduced to repeal these standards. For example, in its most recent annual poll of the public’s attitudes toward the public schools conducted by Phi Delta Kappan and Gallup, six out of ten Americans indicated they oppose the Common Core State Standards. This, in turn, fuels the anti-Common Core legislation. Rick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute think tank, explains how the Common Core went wrong and how advocates can get it back on track. It is a bit lengthy but thought-provoking and worth reading.
“Shock and awe” is the overwhelming response from the citizens who have viewed a powerful, new educational documentary titled, Rise Above the Mark. The documentary was created by Rocky Killion, superintendent of the West Lafayette School Corporation in West Lafayette, Indiana, to alert the general public about what he calls the “corporate takeover” of our nation’s public schools. Since its premier less than a year ago, more than 10,000 people have seen Rise Above the Mark throughout the United States and in several countries, including Belgium, Finland and The Netherlands. Rocky reports that after viewing it many people acknowledge they haven’t been aware of what has been happening to our public schools and ask: What can we help do about it? Narrated by Peter Coyote and featuring Diane Ravitch, Jamie Vollmer and other nationally recognized educational leaders, this documentary is a must-see for anyone who wants to know or let others know how our nation’s education reform movement is impacting our school children. Rise Above the Mark DVDs are available on Amazon.com.