This was a very informative diavlog, and I hope both will return to complete their discussion. As for the question of the direction of reform, I think there's another debate Americans need before they tackle schools.
First, though, before both, Americans need to decide how to pay for teachers. Conservatives are lambasting unions
for blowing holes in state budgets, but Kevin Drum argues that the problem is lost revenue due to the recession
On one hand, I recall what a professor said: "If you want to make money, become a bricklayer. Learn a trade. If you love learning, go to college." OTOH, education isn't about learning so much as it's a credential. If one wants to make things, apprenticeship might be a wiser course. Universities, I think, are idea factories. America seems to be becoming more of an idea factory than a manufacturer. I see South Koreans and I see younger people much better educated to be engineers than Americans. Unfortunately, the task for Americans is to create the next kind of economy and let South Koreans do the making. When Americans have decided what the next step is, then educators can figure out how to teach what society needs.
Of course, there's the opinion, too, that learning is only for an elite that really wants to dedicate itself to scholarship. Credential, or vocation, I keep going back and forth.