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April 23 , 2010

Only Connect

The Way to Save Our Schools


An inspiring new vision for America's public schools from one of the nation's top educators

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Widowed at thirty-three, Lord Harold Alistair Cliffton has no desire to remarry. However, it’s his duty as master of Springfield Manor to provide an heir to preserve the Harcourt family line. When Harold discovers young William, a distant relative who could serve as his heir, he travels to Australia… where fate takes a surprising twist, and Harold…

American fourth graders score twelfth in the world in math skills, after Latvia and Hungary. Our eighth graders are fifteenth, below Malaysia and Slovakia. And by the time they're fifteen years old, our students have slipped off the map—to twenty-fourth place internationally.

If these stats don't make you angry or ashamed or plain sad, then at the very least they should make you afraid. If matters don't change soon, tens of millions of our sons and daughters will grow up unable to function—let alone compete—in a global economy. And the impact of that on all of us will be devastating.

All is not lost, though, says Rudy Crew, who has headed some of the largest and most daunting school systems in America. Not by any means.

Only Connect is a call for not just parents but the entire nation to reconceive our relationship with public education. If we're to survive, we must place our schools at the center of our communities and partner with them to produce children with the full set of the tools they'll need—personal, civic, and occupational as well as academic—to face the economic challenges that lie ahead. Much like Thomas Friedman in The World Is Flat, Crew shows us the reality of our schools in a new century, and what we each must do to create the next generation of mature and conscious contributors to society. From parents who demand only the best from their children and their schools, through our teachers and administrators, all the way to Washington, D.C., everyone has a role in restoring American education and America's competitive edge.

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