Musical Chairs in WillingboroFebruary 24, 2009
Obama On Education ReformFebruary 25, 2009
Kalman Hettleman, former Commissioner on the Baltimore City School Board, has a piece in the Washington Post called “5 Myths About Education Reform.” Here’s the first one to whet your appetite:
1. We know how to fix public schools; we just lack the political will to finish the job.
Wrong. For the past 25 years, K-12 education has been at or near the top of most politicians’ domestic agendas. Candidates vie to become the “education” president, governor or mayor. The public cries out for better schools and is even willing to pay higher taxes to get them.
There is no shortage of strategies for education reform, either. The most famous (or infamous) is the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), with its federal mandates for rigorous student testing. School districts across the country have been flooded with other initiatives, too. Conservatives generally advocate breaking up teacher unions and privatization, while liberals call for more money, less testing and greater teacher autonomy. But nothing has succeeded. In 2006, experts at the Harvard-based Public Education Leadership Project concluded that all these efforts, including NCLB, “have failed to produce a single high-performing urban school system.”