Arizona's future depends on world-class education
for our kids
April 13, 2008
Republic, The (Phoenix, AZ)
- April 13, 2008
Carlson, Special for The Republic
The capacity of
countries ... to compete in the global knowledge economy increasingly depends on
whether they can meet a fast-growing demand for high-level skills. This, in
turn, hinges on significant improvements in the quality of schooling outcomes
and a more equitable distribution in learning opportunities."
Thus begins the forward to the McKinsey report, How the World's Best-Performing
School Systems Come out on Top. "Success will go to those individuals and
countries which are swift to adapt, slow to complain and open to change," says
Andreas Schleicher of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development, or OECD.
The OECD is an international organization that brings together the governments
of 30 member countries committed to democracy and the market economy sharing
expertise and exchanging views with more than 100 other countries and economies
from Brazil, China, and Russia to the least-developed countries in Africa. The
McKinsey report is the result of research initiated by the OECD, comparing the
top-performing school systems worldwide and focusing on those elements that
affect teaching and learning. Researchers analyzed the achievements of the
best-performing school systems based on the PISA (Programme for International
Student Assessment), surveyed current literature and interviewed more than 100
policymakers and practitioners.
They concluded that the best-performing school systems worldwide have three
things in common: they focus on getting the right people to become teachers;
they develop them into effective instructors; and they ensure that the system is
able to deliver the best possible instruction for every child.
Converging factors in Arizona, including increased K-12 graduation requirements
and the need to properly educate
underscore the importance of teacher quality. We need to attract the right
teachers to educate our students, particularly in math and science.
Achieving world-class education is a worthy goal for Arizona children and our
economy. So, how does Arizona attract the right people when the rhetoric in the
media is so negative about teachers and education? How do we attract the top 10
percent to teaching with an average entry pay of about $33,000? How do we keep
the right people in the classroom and recognize their skills and successes?
Citizens and policymakers should act upon these questions, among others, for
Susan Carlson can be reached at 602-261-6700 or by e-mail at
Section: VALLEY & State
Record Number: pho100325182