United States. National Commission on Excellence in Education. A Nation at Risk: the Imperative for Educational Reform: a Report to the Nation and the Secretary of Education, United States Department of Education. Washington, D.C. National Commission on Excellence in Education [Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office distributor], 1983.
“History is not kind to idlers. The time is long past when America’s destiny was assured simply by an abundance of natural resources and inexhaustible human enthusiasm, and by our relative isolation from the malignant problems of older civilizations. The world is indeed one global village. We live among determined, well-educated, and strongly motivated competitors.”
The above report was written before the Internet came into play and made the phrase “… our relative isolation….The world is indeed one global village” prescient. The introduction of the Internet was just a few years away, and competition found its way to the shores of the US.
How did the US come to the point where some students from a high school are at or better than grade level, and headed to post-secondary education without needing remedial programs, while their classmates are likely to be stuck in low paying jobs?
Have you ever wondered, why, after billions of dollars are donated for improving educational outcomes, the results are dismal?
What do we need to do to improve student academic performance?
How do we equalize the playing field so that all students have similar support as students from educated and/or affluent families?
How do we create a workforce that can compete against highly educated and skilled workers from other countries that take up jobs in American companies?
The USA leads the world in science and technology and innovation. It gives us companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Tesla, and Facebook. These companies require highly skilled, educated workers, and if they can’t find them here, they’ll either hire foreign born workers, or outsource their work to other countries.
As an immigrant from India, my observations and experiences started in 1985, and everything I have written here is what I have experienced personally, read about, and received opinions and inputs from those born in the US, as well as immigrants. I have the unique advantage of an outside-in perspective. I travel extensively and contrast how education is approached elsewhere worldwide in comparison to the US.
What started as a journey to identify issues that prevented the youth from being prepared for jobs in a tech economy expanded to this question: What is holding back student academic success in K through twelve, as well as post-secondary education, and overall preparedness to enter the workforce?
A eureka moment 16 months into a pilot program implemented by the team at K12 Counts at a high school in San Jose, California, brought it all together for me as to why dismal statistics as above persist.
I am sharing my observations and experiences based on a twenty plus year journey researching and writing this book, Lesson Up!
I have split it loosely into three sections – pre-pandemic, the present, and coming out of the present to a better future.
As a bonus, I have included my earlier book, ‘Raising Yourself: Making the Right Choices’ in the appendix. I realized in the 1990s that children often raise themselves in the US, unlike other countries, where the parents raise their children. Writing the book Raising Yourself identified issues that prompted me to set up the nonprofit organization – K12 Counts.
Before you visit the Solution tab, I would highly recommend you read Lesson Up! We need to be on the same page (pun intended). Together, we can: