The good news is we know how to fix our broken high schools. We must base them on a brand new set of 3Rs, identified by education experts as the key ingredients of an effective education:It's unclear what rigor refers to since schools are forced to choose from 2-3 packages heavy on constructivism (inquiry), the antithesis of rigor. Most likely, "rigor" is thrown in because it sounds good. Just like "excellence". Even the crappiest schools sing the praises of "excellence". It's also unclear what is relevant to today's students. Academic content apparently is not.
Rigor: all students need the chance to succeed at challenging classes, such as algebra, writing, and chemistry
Relevance: courses and projects must spark student interest and relate clearly to their lives in today’s rapidly changing world
Relationships: all students need adult mentors who know them, look out for them, and push them to achieve
What is clear is that choice and content are radically reduced. For example here in Chicago (a major target of the Gates assault), the packages high schools are forced to choose do not contain Earth science, a subject an educated person should know something about. Electives are also flying out the window.
Investment to Transform 50 Chicago High Schools to Ensure Students are Prepared for Success
$21 Million Investment by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will Strengthen High School College Prep Curriculum and Instruction
When Gates says jump, our clueless mayor, who is running the schools, asks: How high? An astonishing feat considering the mayor's constitution.