I've worked in public education for 30 years - as a teacher, a lawyer and union leader. I've visited hundreds of schools and districts. I've seen leaders from the classroom to the national stage who have been willing to set aside their differences and do the hard work that's necessary to create real, enduring change.
Ensuring that we help prepare all kids for life, college, and work in our knowledge-based economy will require a collaborative, sustained effort from all stakeholders - from the president and the secretary of education on down to states, school districts, principals, teachers, parents, and community members.
Standardized testing is at cross purposes with many of the most important purposes of public education. It doesn't measure big-picture learning, critical thinking, perseverance, problem solving, creativity or curiosity, yet those are the qualities great teaching brings out in a student.