Friday, May 24, 2013

If We Can't Make Education Better, Shouldn't We Stop Making It Worse?


There it is, up above, St. Francis Xavier School in Winooski, Vermont.  Yes, I went to Catholic school.  Yes, I have conflicted feelings about that.  Yes, I have stories to tell.  But never did I doubt that everybody involved was doing their best to educate me.

Skip forward fifty years.

Today after half a century's efforts to improve education, we have school accountability.  Which means that every public school is obsessively tested to find out if they're doing better this year than they were a year ago.  If they are, no problem.

And if they aren't?

Well, the good news is that their funding remains the same.  The bad news is that the money which otherwise would have gone to library, sports, music, and books is required to go to motivational speakers to tell the teachers how to bring their students' grades up.

This is bad.  Because it does not work.  In fact, it actively degrades the education children are receiving.

This is not a red thing or a blue thing.  It's not a left thing or a right thing.  And it's certainly not a conspiracy on anybody's part.  It's simply an idea that sounded good once upon a time but which didn't work out in practice.

Let's get rid of it.  We can replace it with a better idea when we come up with one.  But in the meantime, let's just let our teachers teach.

Here endeth the sermon.  Go and sin no more.


1 comment:

Ken Houghton said...

"And it's certainly not a conspiracy on anybody's part."

I admire your optimism, misplaced though it is.