The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need—and What We Can Do About It

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Bestselling education expert Tony Wagner's groundbreaking manifesto on how to reform our schools and educate our children for the twenty-first century global economy
In The Global Achievement Gap, education expert Tony Wagner situates our school problems in the larger context of the demands of the global knowledge economy. He illustrates that even in our best schools, we don't teach or test the skills that matter most for the twenty-first century. Uncovering what motivates today's generation to excel in school and the workplace, Wagner explores new models of schools that are inspiring students to solve tough problems and communicate at high levels. An education manifesto for the 21st century, The Global Achievement Gap is a must-read for anyone interested in seeing our young people achieve their full potential, while contributing to a strong economy and vibrant democracy.
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About the author

Tony Wagner is senior research fellow at the Learning Policy Institute, and formerly held a variety of positions at Harvard University for more than twenty years. Wagner is the author of numerous books, including Most Likely to Succeed and the national bestseller Creating Innovators.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Basic Books
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Published on
Mar 11, 2014
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Pages
360
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ISBN
9780465055968
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Globalization
Business & Economics / Knowledge Capital
Business & Economics / Skills
Education / Administration / School Superintendents & Principals
Education / Aims & Objectives
Education / Educational Policy & Reform / Federal Legislation
Education / Educational Policy & Reform / General
Education / Experimental Methods
Education / Secondary
Education / Testing & Measurement
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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From a prominent educator, author, and founder of Harvard’s Change Leadership Group comes a provocative look at why innovation is today’s most essential real-world skill and what young people need from parents, teachers, and employers to become the innovators of America’s future.

In this groundbreaking book, education expert Tony Wagner provides a powerful rationale for developing an innovation-driven economy. He explores what parents, teachers, and employers must do to develop the capacities of young people to become innovators. In profiling compelling young American innovators such as Kirk Phelps, product manager for Apple’s first iPhone, and Jodie Wu, who founded a company that builds bicycle-powered maize shellers in Tanzania, Wagner reveals how the adults in their lives nurtured their creativity and sparked their imaginations, while teaching them to learn from failures and persevere. Wagner identifies a pattern—a childhood of creative play leads to deep-seated interests, which in adolescence and adulthood blossom into a deeper purpose for career and life goals. Play, passion, and purpose: These are the forces that drive young innovators.
Wagner shows how we can apply this knowledge as educators and what parents can do to compensate for poor schooling. He takes readers into the most forward-thinking schools, colleges, and workplaces in the country, where teachers and employers are developing cultures of innovation based on collaboration, interdisciplinary problem-solving, and intrinsic motivation. The result is a timely, provocative, and inspiring manifesto that will change how we look at our schools and workplaces, and provide us with a road map for creating the change makers of tomorrow.
Creating Innovators will feature its own innovative elements: more than sixty original videos that expand on key ideas in the book through interviews with young innovators, teachers, writers, CEOs, and entrepreneurs, including Thomas Friedman, Dean Kamen, and Annmarie Neal. Produced by filmmaker Robert A. Compton, the videos are accessible via links and QR codes placed throughout the eBook text or by visiting www.creatinginnovators.com.
How do other countries create “smarter” kids? What is it like to be a child in the world’s new education superpowers? The Smartest Kids in the World “gets well beneath the glossy surfaces of these foreign cultures and manages to make our own culture look newly strange....The question is whether the startling perspective provided by this masterly book can also generate the will to make changes” (The New York Times Book Review).

In a handful of nations, virtually all children are learning to make complex arguments and solve problems they’ve never seen before. They are learning to think, in other words, and to thrive in the modern economy. Inspired to find answers for our own children, author and Time magazine journalist Amanda Ripley follows three Americans embed­ded in these countries for one year. Kim, fifteen, raises $10,000 so she can move from Oklahoma to Finland; Eric, eighteen, trades his high-achieving Minnesota suburb for a booming city in South Korea; and Tom, seventeen, leaves a historic Pennsylvania village for Poland.

Through these young informants, Ripley meets battle-scarred reformers, sleep-deprived zombie students, and a teacher who earns $4 million a year. Their stories, along with groundbreaking research into learning in other cultures, reveal a pattern of startling transformation: none of these countries had many “smart” kids a few decades ago. Things had changed. Teaching had become more rigorous; parents had focused on things that mattered; and children had bought into the promise of education.
The basis for a major documentary, two leading experts sound an urgent call for the radical reimagining of American education so we can equip students for the realities of the twenty-first-century economy. “If you read one book about education this decade, make it this one” (Adam Braun, bestselling author and founder of Pencils of Promise).

Today more than ever, we prize academic achievement, pressuring our children to get into the “right” colleges, have the highest GPAs, and pursue advanced degrees. But while students may graduate with credentials, by and large they lack the competencies needed to be thoughtful, engaged citizens and to get good jobs in our rapidly evolving economy. Our school system was engineered a century ago to produce a workforce for a world that no longer exists. Alarmingly, our methods of schooling crush the creativity and initiative young people really need to thrive in the twenty-first century.

Now bestselling author and education expert Tony Wagner and venture capitalist Ted Dintersmith call for a complete overhaul of the function and focus of American schools, sharing insights and stories from the front lines, including profiles of successful students, teachers, parents, and business leaders. Their powerful, urgent message identifies the growing gap between credentials and competence—and offers a framework for change.

Most Likely to Succeed presents a new vision of American education, one that puts wonder, creativity, and initiative at the very heart of the learning process and prepares students for today’s economy. “In this excellent book...Wagner and Dintersmith argue...that success and happiness will depend increasingly on having the ability to innovate” (Chicago Tribune), and this crucial guide offers policymakers and opinion leaders a roadmap for getting the best for our future entrepreneurs.
What will it take for urban schools to achieve the kind of academic performance required by new state and national educational standards? How can classroom teachers in city schools help to close the achievement gap? What can restore public confidence in public schools?

Pedro Noguera argues that higher standards and more tests, by themselves, will not make low-income urban students any smarter and the schools they attend more successful without substantial investment in the communities in which they live. Drawing on extensive research performed in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond, Noguera demonstrates how school and student achievement is influenced by social forces such as demographic change, poverty, drug trafficking, violence, and social inequity. Readers get a detailed glimpse into the lives of teachers and students working "against the odds" to succeed. Noguera sends a strong message to those who would have urban schools “shape up or shut down”: invest in the future of these students and schools, and we can reach the kind of achievement and success that typify only more privileged communities.

Public schools are the last best hope for many poor families living in cities across the nation. Noguera gives politicians, policymakers, and the public its own standard to achieve—provide the basic economic and social support so that teachers and students can get the job done!

“In this engaging book, Pedro Noguera provides a compelling vision of the problems plaguing urban schools and how to address them. City Schools and the American Dream is replete with insights from a scholar and former activist who makes great use of both personal and professional experiences.”
—William Julius Wilson, Harvard University

This book summarizes the international evidence on methodological issues in standard setting in education. By critically discussing the standard-setting practices implemented in the Nordic countries and by presenting new methodological approaches, it offers fresh perspectives on the current research.

Standard setting targets crucial societal objectives by defining educational benchmarks at different achievement levels, and provides feedback to policy makers, schools and teachers about the strengths and weaknesses of a school system. Given that the consequences of standard setting can be dramatic, the quality of standard setting is a prime concern. If it fails, repercussions can be expected in terms of arbitrary evaluations of educational policy, wrong turns in school or teacher development or misplacement of individual students. Standard setting therefore needs to be accurate, reliable, valid, useful, and defensible.

However, specific evidence on the benefits and limits of different approaches to standard setting is rare and scattered, and there is a particular lack with respect to standard setting in the Nordic countries, where the number of national tests is increasing and there are concerns about the time and effort spent on testing at schools without feedback being provided. Addressing this gap, the book offers a discussion on standard setting by respected experts as well as profound and innovative insights into fundamental aspects of standard setting including conclusions for future methodological and policy-related research.

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