Wasting Minds offers a smart and tightly reasoned critique of the educational status quo. But instead of leaving us with mere diagnosis, Ron Wolk offers a wise and compelling set of remedies. Writing with an idealist's heart and a pragmatist's spine, he shows how to build an education system centered on students and true to the ideals of freedom, rigor, and fairness. --Daniel H. Pink, New York Times best-selling author of A Whole New Mind and Drive
Wasting Minds is an elegant balance of insight, provocation, vision, and practicality that make it a must-read for anyone interested in meeting one of the great challenges of our times: helping educational change keep up with the changes and new demands of our world today. Ron Wolk takes accurate aim at the current, narrow efforts to reform education, without blaming all those working hard to move education forward. --Nicholas C. Donohue, President and CEO of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and former Commissioner of Education for the state of New Hampshire
From the Inside Flap
In this thoughtful and insightful book, Ronald A. Wolk tackles these questions head-on, identifying key assumptions that have shaped the debate on school reform for the past several decades, including the emphasis on standards and testing, calls for a longer school day and year, the push to enroll more students in advanced math classes, and the quest to place a highly qualified teacher in every classroom. Backed by research and other evidence, he points out the flaws in each assumption, and then proposes alternative assumptions as the basis for new, innovative schools that would emphasize such elements as
* Individualized instruction, with various pathways for learning;
* Real-world contexts for learning;
* Performance assessment;
* A restructuring of public education to expand preschool; and
* Transformation of the teachers' role from instructor to advisor.
Acknowledging that the current system is too entrenched to accept radical reform, Wolk suggests incorporating his assumptions into a separate, parallel strategy for new schools. The result is a provocative proposal for teachers, administrators, policymakers, parents, and others to consider as they contemplate the future of public education in the United States.