The New York Times of Tuesday, February 17, 2009, reported (p. A1) that our new education czar had $100 billion at his disposal to do something with. If he wants to show something for the money he had better put it into repairing old school buildings and building new ones; or feeding kids who come to school hungry.
Any other goal, for example, “reforming education,” “producing effective teachers,” “preparing students for lifelong learning,” “strengthening the connection between school and the world of work,” is a wild bet on a mostly empty slogans. Pursue such goals and damage will result. Not only will there be wild disagreement as to whether they have been achieved, but the credibility of educational planners, already low, will suffer yet more skepticism.
If real and necessary improvement is wanted, then what has to be done first is to recognize what isn’t the matter with public schools – they are generally far better in most ways than the ones I attended a half century ago.
The so-called “problems” of public schools are the consequence of misplaced expectations and the carefully incubated dementia (called “teacher education”) that brings public educators of all sorts to believe two major falsehoods: 1) Science is on their side; and 2) happy faces and high expectations bestow them with Omnipotence.
To examine these issues further, see Public School Reform: Mired in Metaphor