“The Death and Life of the Great American School System”

I really like a lot of what President Obama has done for the US, but I have been sorely disappointed by his approach to education.

Maybe it’s not his fault. Education “reform” is a political hot potato with a lot of emotional baggage. People Taxpayers don’t want to pay for something that they can’t understand, and so politicians who make decisions that affect education have to cast those decisions in a way that is easily understandable to the average person.

Thus education policy is formulated in terms like “accountability”; read “I’m not going to pay you if you can’t make my kid’s test scores go up, dammit.” There is little room for nuanced understanding of the complex nature of good (or bad) education.

Diane Ravitch is out with a new book that provides a research-based critique of this approach to education policy. (The above-linked article is a review of the book written by a real live Oregonian teacher.) I – and millions of other teachers – need to pick this up, read it, and use the information contained therein to bolster the argument against the behemoth that is pay-for-performance.

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