Yesterday, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, testifying before a congressional committee, said that NASA's ultimate goal is "eventually Mars", but it could not be done in 10 years or more "because there are some things we just don't know."
We would have never landed a man on the moon if NASA leadership in the 1960s took that position. We didn't know in 1961 how to land a man on the moon and return him safley to the earth. And there are some things we don't know when it comes to the goal of quality education for all. (That is, an education system from which 100% of PK-12 students are equiped for college or the workforce, for life-long learning as a foundation for a productive/fulfilling life.)
When President Kennedy set the "man on the moon" goal everyone in the United States understood why we wanted to do that. The "how" was not 100% clear, but the "what" and "why" was concrete.
It occured to me that our education system operates like the NASA of today. We don't have a common understanding of "what" and "why". We need a concrete vision, understood by all, that fosters a willingness to do whatever it takes. An understanding that part of the pursuit is a pursuit of knowledge, to overcome the "things we just don't know".
Please let me know your thoughts on what should be our "man on the moon" goal for education by the end of this decade.