When faculty of a major Chinese university asked Plucker to identify trends in American education, he described our focus on standardized curriculum, rote memorization, and nationalized testing. "After my answer was translated, they just started laughing out loud," Plucker says. "They said, 'You're racing toward our old model. But we're racing toward your model, as fast as we can.' "
Perhaps it's no surprise. Centralized bureaucracy works terribly in almost every other American endeavor (the military excepted, and the discipline of soldiers is far beyond any reasonable discipline expectation of kids and thus teachers). How would one create a decentralized educational system? I've mentioned before my preference for student-directed, teacher-supervised projects, but that's difficult to implement, especially as class sizes get large.