Dealing with the profound learning losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic starts with teachers. Unfortunately, improving individual teacher performance remains quite challenging. A more potent solution is to keep and reward the most effective teachers while getting rid of the least effective ones.
American teachers are paid less than similarly skilled individuals in other professions. As a result, our education system isn’t performing at an acceptable level. Improving public education requires significantly enhancing teacher salaries but also tilting compensation toward the most effective teachers.
Education is still largely a domestic, if not local, field of public policy. But in this age of accelerations we will only succeed through awareness-based collective action. The future will be with those education systems that don’t feel threatened by alternative ways of thinking but that are open to the world and ready to learn from and with the world’s education leaders.
The United States used to lead the world in educational attainment, but has failed to maintain its dominant position in the last few decades. Improving its students’ educational outcomes would significantly expand the economy and the opportunities available to workers. The future of the United States economy depends on improving the education and skills taught to students, which requires a renewed emphasis on producing, rewarding, and retaining great teachers.
Widespread proficiency in math and reading creates a strong foundation for more advanced knowledge and productive work. Unfortunately, U.S. proficiency in math and reading hasn’t kept up with the rest of the world. If American students become more proficient in math and reading, long-run economic growth will follow.