What is the key to improving education in America? Stuart Buck says that Barker Bausell’s book, Too Simple to Fail: A Case for Educational Change, provides the answer:
His main thesis: that the only thing that improves education is spending more time on instruction at a given child’s level. In his words:
All school learning is explained in terms of the amount of relevant instructional time provided to a student.
That’s it: more time + suitability for a child’s level.
This may seem too simplistic at first glance, but Bausell marshals evidence that his theory explains, well, a lot. Possibly even the achievement gap. Studies of home behavior have shown that middle-class families spend much more time talking and reading to their children at a high level. This is the most elegant explanation for why those children do better in school — they have had much more time devoted to their learning.