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Much to My Surprise, McKinsey Gets It Right on School Reform

September 16, 2020


Like many who decry the neoliberal “run government like a business” ethos, I tend to be skeptical of anything that comes from McKinsey Consultants. But apart from some of the examples they use to illustrate their points (the one praising KIPP is especially egregious), a slight tilt toward technology-as-the-ultimatesolution, and the implication that school is about career prep, the recommendations in this article mirror those I would make. They strongly advocate mastery learning, using a more wholistic approach to teaching, abandoning the factory school model, and– most importantly—- acknowledge and call out the need for more funding:

Achieving Sustainable Development Goal number four—to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all—will require a significant increase in investment for the students most at risk of falling behind.

Mastery learning, blowing up the factory model, redefining the roles and responsibilities of teachers, and providing more equitable funding! Sounds like a good formula for reform to me… FAR better than the test-and-punish model that currently has bipartisan support. Despite the problems cited above, this might be a direction both parties could support going forward.

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