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ERIC Number: ED522108
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-May-24
Pages: 52
Abstractor: ERIC
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: An American Agenda for Education Reform
Tucker, Marc S.
National Center on Education and the Economy (NJ3)
In this paper, the author asks what education policy might look like in the United States if it was based on the experience of its most successful competitors. He relies on research conducted by a team assembled by the National Center on Education and the Economy, at the request of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which examined the strategies employed by Canada (focusing on Ontario), China (focusing on Shanghai), Finland, Japan and Singapore. There are few things that all of the most successful countries do. The author points out when all appear to share a policy framework, when most do and when some do. Companies that practice industrial benchmarking do not adopt innovations only when all of their best competitors practice them. They adopt them when the innovations of particular competitors appear to work well and when they make sense for the company doing the benchmarking in the context of their own goals and circumstances. The author hopes that, by combining the most successful innovations from individual competitors in a sensible, coherent way and adding a few of their own, they can not only match the competition, but improve on their performance. The author contrasts the strategies that appear to be driving the policy agendas of the most successful countries with the strategies that appear to be driving the current agenda for education reform in the United States. He concludes that the strategies driving the best performing systems are rarely found in the United States, and, conversely, that the education strategies now most popular in the United States are conspicuous by their absence in the countries with the most successful education systems. A bibliography is included.
National Center on Education and the Economy. 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Suite 5300, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: 202-379-1800; Fax: 202-293-1560; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center on Education and the Economy, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Location: Canada; China; Finland; Japan; Singapore
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A