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It’s All Chinese to Me (In a Good Way)

For how long have Americans tried to get education right?  From before Horace Mann was a sparkle in his proud parents’ eyes, more than 200 years ago.  At the heart of that pursuit has been a focus on the ways in which schools have come up short rather than drawing on how they’ve stood tall and done well. But about 40 years ago, there emerged a new school of thought in determining what makes for great schools.  Instead of dwelling on ways in which they fail, which wasn’t leading to nearly enough progress, especially for low-income children, the new idea was...

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What can we do to help young people become independent and analytical thinkers?

This column originally appeared in the Fall 2019 issue of Thinking Minnesota, now the second largest magazine in Minnesota.   To receive a free trial issue send your name and address to info@americanexperiment.org. The earnest children who skipped school the other day to protest our government’s handling of climate change might be surprised to learn that their revered Green New Deal has at best a tenuous connection to climate. Just ask Saikat Chakrabarti, the man who was chief of staff in the office of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she first hatched the idea. During an interview with the Washington Post this summer,...

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A Liberal Journalist Experiences Radical Progressivism in the NYC Schools

George Packer is a staff writer for The Atlantic and lives in New York City.  Like most of us, he is the product of public schools and a strong believer in the importance of “common schools” to educate children of all “religious, social, and ethnic backgrounds.”  Therefore he and his wife were very excited when their young son was accepted into a diverse NYC public school in which two-thirds of students performed well on standardized tests. His sober reflections on his 10 year experience with radically progressive educators is published in the current issue of The Atlantic, “When the Culture War...

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