The former director of the American Association of School Administrators outlines a coherent countervision for turning schools back into places that nurture children.

Leaning Our Ladder against the Right Wall

Leaning our ladder against the right wall

We're lost, but we're making good time.

—Yogi Berra

When I was growing up in West Virginia, I was exposed to many colloquial expressions. One that seems most appropriate for looking at education reform is “if you lean your ladder against the wrong wall, you are going to paint the wrong house.” When it comes to American education, it seems we are constantly leaning our ladders against the wrong wall. We are misdiagnosing the problems we face, and subsequently, we are developing the wrong solutions. If we want to improve education, we must get the right solutions lined up with the right problems.

We constantly hear from the media and political leaders that the American ...

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