Surpassing Shanghai

Surpassing Shanghai An Agenda for American Education Built on the World’s Leading Systems

Edited by Marc S. Tucker, Foreword by Linda Darling-Hammond
Pub. Date: November 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-457-5
Paper, 288 Pages
Pub. Date: November 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-103-1
Price: $32.00

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This book answers a simple question: How would one redesign the American education system if the aim was to take advantage of everything that has been learned by countries with the world’s best education systems?


This extraordinary book could not be more timely or more important . . . This collection makes clear that, if we actually want to create high-quality schools for all children in the United States, our strategies must emulate the best of what has been accomplished in public education both here and abroad. — From the Foreword by Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education, Stanford University

This book shines because it offers what is central to school reform: a commitment to wonderful teachers. It offers those of us in colleges of education a lot to think about—and a lot to do. — Mari Koerner, Dean, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, Arizona State University

Surpassing Shanghai should be on the reading list of everyone who aspires to improve American education. The message is clear: If we are serious, we have to stop simply comparing California to Connecticut to Kansas. It’s time to swim in deeper water with Singapore, Ontario, Japan, and others who are eating our lunch. — John Merrow, education correspondent, PBS NewsHour and president, Learning Matters

Tucker and his colleagues challenge us to ask why the U.S. is pursuing a reform agenda that differs markedly from what other advanced countries have found essential for creating good schools—high quality teachers, fair funding, and coherence in the system of education. After reading this book, one is left with the question: Is the U.S. so unique that an agenda so different from that of other countries can improve our schools? — Jack Jennings, president and CEO, Center on Education Policy

Marc Tucker has assembled revealing descriptions of the ascent of Shanghai, Finland, Japan, Singapore, and Canada to the highest levels of international achievement in education. The book crystallizes the successful practices and patterns emerging from these top performers and then ‘takes the gloves off’ to contrast the efforts of high-achieving countries with current reform thinking in the U.S. . . . My big takeaway from Surpassing Shanghai is that success will come down to our collective will and our sustained commitment to thoughtful systems reform. — Gene Wilhoit, executive director, Council of Chief State School Officers

Surpassing Shanghai is a true gift for those who want to understand other systems of education better as well as the deficiencies of education in the Unites States. — Anatoli Rapoport, Teachers College Record

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About the Editor

Marc S. Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE), created the National Institute for School Leadership, America’s Choice, Inc., and the Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. He was also the director of the Carnegie Forum on Education and the Economy, which created the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Among numerous book and report publications, Tucker is the coauthor of Thinking for a Living: Education and the Wealth of Nations (Basic Books, 1993, with Ray Marshall) and coeditor of The Principal Challenge: Leading and Managing Schools in an Era of Accountability (Jossey-Bass, 2002, with Judy Codding).

"Creating Education Success at Home," Education Week commentary by Marc Tucker

"A Different Role for Teachers Unions" by Marc Tucker in Education Next, Winter 2012

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