Joel Klein may have left his position as Chancellor, but he has not abandoned his fight for education reform. He’s back with another post at The Atlantic called The Failure of American Schools.

The article is quite extensive and includes a history of how we got where we are today with so many failing schools:

“During the first three-quarters of the 20th century, America developed an enormously successful middle class, first by making high school universal, and then, after the Second World War, by making college much more available, through the GI Bill and other scholarship programs. As a result, our educational attainment kept pace with our strong technological advancement. But that’s changed markedly since 1980, and now our technological progress is advancing more rapidly than our educational attainment. From 1960 to 1980, our supply of college graduates increased at almost 4 percent a year; since then, the increase has been about half as fast. The net effect is that we’re rapidly moving toward two Americas—a wealthy elite, and an increasingly large underclass that lacks the skills to succeed.”

He calls out a change in politics as a crucial key to reform:

“If the forces behind reform seem scattered and weak, those defending the status quo—the unions, the politicians, the bureaucrats, and the vendors—are well organized and well financed. Having spent eight years trying to ignite a revolution in New York City’s schools under Bloomberg’s leadership, I am convinced that without a major realignment of political forces, we won’t get the dramatic improvements our children need.”

Klein is also aligned with the ideals of Schools That Can, that every child can learn no matter of background which goes against what some other major education figures say like Diane Ravitch:

“Consider one of the most cherished mantras in public education today—“We’ll never fix education until we fix poverty.” This lets the school system off the hook: “We can’t do too much with these poor kids, so don’t blame us (but give us more money).” Sure, money, a stable family, and strong values typically make educating a child easier. But we also now know that, keeping those things constant, we can get dramatically different outcomes with the same kid, based on his or her education.”

He explains a number of solutions including better systems for keeping track of achievement for students and teachers and better integration of technology:

“On a four-point scale, for example, a teacher deserves credit for moving a kid from a 1 to a 2 and should lose credit for letting another kid fall from a 4 to a 3, even though a 3 is better than a 2 in an absolute sense.”

“Last, to shake up the system, we must change how we use technology to deliver instruction. (This is what I’m now seeking to do at News Corporation.) The present resistance to innovation is breathtaking.”

Klein understands that education reform isn’t just about education. Transforming education will have extremely positive effects for America on a global scale:

“McKinsey estimates that the benefits of bringing our educational levels up to those of the highest-performing countries would have raised our gross domestic product by about $2 trillion in 2008. By the same token, every year we fail to close that gap is like living with the equivalent of a permanent national recession.”

He also thinks given this current landscape, that it is up to communities and organizations to help reform education and they should be given more say in the building of new schools and programs. Our network is a hallmark to this thought. Thank you to everyone in the network for all your hard work; you’re helping children at the individual level and changing the future of our nation.

Check out Klein’s entire article for more insights.