Danielle Allen is a professor of social science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. Her forthcoming book, co-edited with Rob Reich, is “Education, Justice, and Democracy.”
In his State of the Union address, President Obama announced that the Education Department would launch another competition to spur educational reform in the states.
Four years ago, the Race to the Top program drove changes in state policy on charter schools, teacher tenure, and standards and accountability. Now the administration proposes a competition to “redesign America’s high schools.” Rewards will go to schools that develop more classes “that focus on science, technology, engineering and math — the skills today’s employers are looking for to fill jobs right now and in the future,” the president said.
We need all those classes in the STEM fields, as they are called, and as a nation we must do a better job of preparing our young people in these fields. But we don’t need to become a nation of technocrats.