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Excerpts From Reinventing Education

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This book, then, has one purpose: to advance solutions. The battle to reinvent America's schools is not going to be won by generals, least of all by armchair generals. It will be won schoolroom by schoolroom, school building by school building.--Louis V. Gerstner Jr., from his introduction to Reinventing Education.

Following are excerpts from Reinventing Education, written by Mr. Gerstner, the chairman and chief executive officer of the International Business Machines Corporation, with Roger D. Semerad, the treasurer of the New American Schools Development Corporation; Denis P. Doyle, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute; and William B. Johnston, the executive vice president of a public relations firm.

No one's social interests are served by a system that concentrates the poor in one set of schools, the well-to-do in another. It is not only undemocratic, it creates a poor economic environment. Put most simply, the poor--those who need good schools the most--are least likely to find them in the present system. Not only do the poor have the most limited financial resources, they have the most limited access to good information, to public transportation, to testing and counseling services. No matter where they turn, they must try twice as hard.

Expecting too little--something most people think of as wrong-headed but well-intentioned--actually works a cruel hoax on students. By expecting too little, students never get to stretch their wings; they never get to soar. They are denied the most profound pleasure of adult life--the sense of accomplishment provided by genuine mastery. The issue is not becoming as accomplished as Einstein, Shakespeare, Beethoven, or Michael Jordan; the issue is becoming as accomplished as you can be. None of us can be our best if we are not challenged.

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