Michael B. Horn and Meg Evans of the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute claim that the monolithic education system in place is not only outdated but systemically resistant to change. The top-down approach to curriculum creates an environment where decisions are removed from those closest to the classrooms and makes innovation near impossible. When teachers are given an outcome goal they are freer to adapt their methods to meet the needs of their students.

To improve education, especially in urban areas, the authors recommend a move towards personalized learning both in curriculum and choice of school. They point out that 60% of jobs today are “knowledge jobs” compared to only 17% in 1900, when the public school system was devised. They propose that districts operate a “portfolio” of schools to give parents a choice outside of their own district. They argue that this move towards personalized learning would improve attainment and foster further innovation, which is desperately needed to improve urban districts.

Read the paper in its entirety here. (American Enterprise Institute, 2013)

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