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Drive 45 minutes northwest from inner-city Baltimore to suburban Carroll County. In the population around you, the percentage of low-birth-weight babies drops by half, the infant mortality rate falls by more than two-thirds, and the juvenile arrest rate plunges by 80 percent.
At the same time, the high school graduation rate more than doubles.
By Andy Porter
Here’s an old farmer’s trick: Tie a carrot to a stick and dangle it in front of your donkey. The hungry donkey will go after the carrot, the donkey’s cart will start rolling, and your goods will get to market.
You’ve got to be careful, though. If your stick is too long, the donkey will know that the carrot’s out of reach; it will sit on its haunches, and your cart will go nowhere.
Pressure is building on Congress to overhaul No Child Left Behind, the law that has made high-stakes testing the centerpiece of U.S. education policy for nearly a decade.
President Obama is urging lawmakers to revise or replace NCLB. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll shows that a solid majority of Americans want the law mended or even scrapped. And everyone recognizes that U.S. schools won’t come close to NCLB’s target of full grade-level proficiency in reading and math in 2014.
If you had to pick the next CEO of a Fortune 500 company, would you start your search among school superintendents and retired generals?
Of course you wouldn’t. You’d look for someone with years of experience in business, preferably your own line of business.
So why does anyone think that business executives and generals are qualified to run the nation’s largest school systems, merely because they have run another, very different sort of large organization?