The Buying and Selling of American Education

January 17, 2023
Michael Horn

According to a Public School Review article by Kate Barrington from May 2022, the American public education system is not keeping up with the times and is facing many serious problems. Barrington addresses fifteen issues plaguing U.S. education, from lack of funding to challenges with technology and student mental health challenges. Susan Zelman, President of the Zelman Education Consulting Group, takes on many of these issues in her book, “The Buying and Selling of American Education: Reimagining a System of Schools for all Children”. Here, Zelman looks at the problems facing American education but offers paths forward with solutions.

Zelman discussed her education journey and her book with Michael B. Horn, the host of the Future of Education. Her first-hand experiences witnessing education injustices done to students from marginalized communities shaped her desire to make a difference for all students.

“I was kind of a nerdy kid,” Zelman confessed. “I was the kind of kid who failed summer camp. Nobody wanted me on their volleyball team. I couldn’t wait for school to start. Even though I knew my father wanted me to be a lawyer, education was my passion.”

Horn’s conversation with Zelman includes…

● The issues and concerns Zelman wanted to address and share with readers
through her book

● The meaning behind the title, “The Buying and Selling of American Education”

● The history of education and how America got to its current state of education

“Education, teaching, is not a linear type of thing,” Zelman said. “We don’t have curriculum, teach a kid, and expect to measure the results. Doing school is hard work, and teaching and learning is a complex human act. And we don’t do it in a vacuum. Your classroom, in some sense, is a social system, a system of a district, and a system of a community. In many ways, the school is a microcosm for what’s happening in society.”

Susan Zelman is a longtime educator and experienced Executive Director with a demonstrated history of working in the government administration industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Government, Program Evaluation, Educational Consulting, and Editing, Zelman’s a strong business development professional with a Ph.D. in Education from The University of Michigan. She is the co-author of The Buying and Selling of American Education: Reimagining a System of Schools for all Children.

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