The Hidden Causes of America’s Broken Education System and How We Can Fix It

In her new book, The Knowledge Gap, education journalist Natalie Wexler chronicles what she calls America’s broken education system. She cites the devastating impact, especially on underserved children, of an elementary education where she says comprehension is mistakenly seen as a matter of building generic skills, overlooking the essential need to build actual knowledge. Wexler says not only is school boring as a result, but scores on measures of reading comprehension remain stagnant. Beyond diagnosing the problem, Wexler showcases innovative educators who she says are bringing real learning into the classroom. Wexler challenges all of us to think beyond the typical excuses for failing schools and consider the need for a knowledge-rich curriculum that exposes children to vocabulary and stories that build upon each other.

A senior contributor to, Wexler’s writing has also appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Washington Post, and she is the co-author with Judith C. Hochman of The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grades.

Kati Haycock is the founder and former CEO of Education Trust, an organization dedicated to high achievement for all students, particularly those of color or living in poverty.

Kate Walsh has led the National Council on Teacher Quality for over 15 years, championing greater transparency and higher standards for all institutions that impact teacher effectiveness. 

Wexler will speak about her findings and then join a conversation with education advocates Kati Haycock and Kate Walsh, moderated by KIPP teacher Josh Martinez. 

Come for a vital discussion aimed at solving America’s education woes.

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Natalie Wexler

Education Journalist and Author, The Knowledge Gap: The Hidden Cause of America's Broken Education System—and How to Fix It

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Kati Haycock

Founder and President Emeritus, The Education Trust (Washington, D.C.)

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Kate Walsh

President, National Council on Teacher Quality (Since 2003)

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Josh Martinez

Member, KIPP SoCal Teaching and Learning Team; Winner, Prestigious TNTP 2017 Fishman Prize for Teaching—Moderator