Top U.S. Education Official Says System in Crisis

Associated Press, June 24, 2011

June 24, 2011

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The United States is in an education “crisis” but isn’t acting as if it grasps the severity of the problem, a top ranking education official said Friday.

“It’s not clear that we believe we’re at a crisis,” said Anthony Miller, deputy U.S. education secretary.

Miller told a symposia organized by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences that the country is in some cases “lying to kids” when it tells them their high school years have educated them well enough to deal with their futures. “We’ve got to start telling them the truth.”

In keynote remarks at the conference on philanthropy in public education, Miller said that billions in corporate giving to education annually is important but fails to have a long term impact because its distribution is “very scattered”.

Philanthropists need more evidence about which programs work and which don’t, according to Miller. He said the country needs “truly innovative” breakthroughs to address the urgent needs for education. Reform would still be years away even if all of the answers were available now, he said.

The Academy of Arts and Sciences plans to recommend steps to help philanthropists and educators work on the problems together, according to its president, Leslie C. Berlowitz.