Leonard C. Burrello
Executive Director
Dena Cushenberry
​Social Media Manager
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​David Brooks of The New York Times is something of a fountain of knowledge for us educators—even when his work isn’t written with us specifically in mind. For his writing regularly encourages readers to consider a variety of topics from a stirring number of viewpoints, something that we should always strive to do when working on behalf of the nation’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens. This week, then, we’d like to highlight Mr. Brooks’s work, along with that of Oren Cass, as these two big thinkers are some of our most eloquent predictors of what’s to come: be it good or bad.
First: David Brooks. To give you a glimpse of his insights, here are some notes from an article he published just after the November 2018 election:

  • 20% of working men are not working full-time jobs
  • Only 37% of Americans think that their child will be better off financially than they have been themselves
  • Financial insecurity is no longer a reality only for those near or below the poverty line

Oren Cass, meanwhile, is the author of The Once and Future Worker, a book replete with policy ideas educators might well consider. Cass, for example, supports what’s called academic tracking, a system by which students are grouped and taught according to their academic abilities as opposed to being thrown into a one-size-fits-all system designed to prepare everyone for college. In support of academic tracking, Cass offers the following data, ultimately concluding from it that too many schools currently treat all students as if they are all the same and have the same needs and aspirations instead of working to actually meet kids’ needs.   

  • 20% of students do not graduate high school in four years
  • 20% of students do not continue their education after high school
  • 20% of students drop out of college
  • 20% of students get a job unrelated to their college degree

And now, of course, it’s time for us to debate – just as all critical thinkers should. Debate. Analyze. Work out and through. So what do you think of this data? What do you think we should draw from it? Do you agree with Cass’s opinion of academic tracking?
Let us know. More to come soon.