School Problems

What's wrong with our schools, and how to fix them. How can we improve public education? Leaders of psychology speak on everyday questions. Heads Up.

By PT Staff, published on November 1, 2002 - last reviewed on January 23, 2015

Heads Up

Top experts weigh in on everyday questions.

Robert J. Sternberg, Ph.D.

President, American Psychological Association

"IQ levels have been increasing over the past century. At the same
time, people seem to have become less wise. There have been more reported
massacres, genocides and terrorist acts in recent years than any sane
person can stand, and the greed of some supposedly smart corporate
chieftains seems to know no bounds. For this reason, we are involved in a
project to teach children to think not just critically but wisely. We
teach them to use their intelligence not only for their own gain but
toward the attainment of a common good-to care about the ends to which
knowledge is used."

Rod Paige, Ph.D.

Secretary of Education

"President Bush and Congress took the first step by passing the
bipartisan No Child Left Behind law, which combines unprecedented
spending with accountability for results.

Schools, states and parents are taking the next step by
implementing the law's provisions for flexibility, research-based
instruction, objective information and expanded parental options. The
foundation of learning is reading, so the most critical step we can take
is to improve reading instruction. Researchers have demonstrated which
methods of instruction are most successful, but many teachers and parents
don't know about them. All of us, from district officials to involved
neighbors, can help spread the word."

Reginald "Reg" Weaver, M.A.

President-Elect, National Education Association

"The first step is ensuring that all children have access to a
school that is safe, free from intimidation and harassment, and has an
atmosphere that is conducive to good teaching and learning. Eighty-five
percent of the richest parents send their children to a public school.
Why? Because those public schools have everything they need. I want the
students in the inner cities and poor rural areas to have the same kinds
of schools you find in an upscale suburb. Every parent wants their child
to attend a school with quality teachers, small class sizes and high
standards-the basics of a quality education."