Class Conflict

“Above all, in the knowledge society, the school becomes accountable for performance and results.”
—Peter Drucker, Post-Capitalist Society

The hottest debate in education right now is over attempts by federal officials to set common standards for public schools.

Proponents argue that common standards are the most effective way to measure achievement, hold educators accountable and provide young people with the skills they’ll need to compete in the global economy. Opponents reject common standards because, they say, this approach ignores the diversity of individual learning needs and smacks of a big government, one-size-fits-all solution to the problems of education.

Long before this dust-up, Peter Drucker envisioned what education in a modern society should look like. “The traditional concepts of literacy no longer suffice,” Drucker wrote. “Reading, writing, arithmetic will be needed just as they are today. But literacy now has to go well beyond these foundations. It requires numeracy; it requires a basic understanding of science and of the dynamics of technology; it requires an acquaintance with foreign languages. It also requires learning how to be effective as a member of an organization, as an employee.”

In this edition of Drucker Apps, we invite you to join our conversation about the call for common standards in the classroom. We open things up with this question: Can common standards help elevate education in America—or will they just produce universal mediocrity?