Upon listening to this I could not help but recall Diane Ravitch’s research into various education fads. She outlines all the failed reform in Left Back : Life and Death of the American School System. Here Eli is asked what he would do if he were Edu. Secretary, I was asked a similar question on an interview- how would I consult Superintendent Cami Anderson about the expanded learning day initiatives. Well, Ravitch was Education Secretary, she has a plethora of insights and she is brave to change ingrained opinions based on empirical evidence. This clip is interesting but the bottom line is no one has the panacea and anyone claiming to have even as much as half should be carefully evaluated.
An interesting fact I learned from her research of the history of public education: Vocational and public highschools in the 1880s offered courses in industrial trades like bricklaying, plumbing, sewing ,metal work and carpentry; as well as bookkeeping, music, art, drawing and surveying.
To answer the question of this post: “What Does It Take to Revolutionize Education in the United States? Perhaps we can look to someone promoting project based learning all the way back in the 1890s: “Eliot urged educators… natural sciences such as botany, zoology, geology and foreign languages. Eliot opposed lock step recitations and memory drills, especially the customary practice of memorizing geographic facts and grammatical rules. He wanted students actively involved in laboratory demonstrations, where they could be expected to observe, weigh ,measure and do fieldwork. It was not subject matter…that was important…it was mental power, the power to think,reason,observe,and describe…what educators in the late twentieth century would call ” critical thinking skills.”