I read an interesting Op-Ed about education in today’s Washington Post, in which the author wrote the following: “The proper role of government is to ensure the provision of essential services, not always to provide those services itself.” Leaving aside the author’s particular perspective on K-12 education reform, I’m curious: How many people out there [...]
Tag Archives: school choice
It’s that time of year again: when parents across the country — but particularly parents in major American cities — prepare to schedule a flurry of open houses in a frantic search for the best school for their child.
It happened to me a year ago; between January and March I visited more than 20 schools in search of the best place for my 3-year-old. Even though I’ve been working in schools my whole adult life, it was a daunting, disorienting experience. I can only imagine what it feels like for parents who haven’t stepped foot in a school since their own high school graduation.
To help ease the anxiety of my fellow parents, here are a few essential rules of the road: three questions to ask, and three things to look for.
Earlier this week the DC Public Charter School Board released its latest rankings of every charter school operating in the nation’s capital. Some schools earned higher or lower scores than last year — each school is rated either Tier 1, 2 or 3 — but the majority did not change. No surprise there: these things take time, not to mention the fact that our system for evaluating whether a school is high- or low-performing remains imperfect at best.
It’s official. Barack Hussein Obama has been re-elected.
Won’t Back Down, the new Hollywood film about two mothers determined to take over their children’s failing inner city school, represents everything that’s wrong with the present way we talk about school reform – and everything we need to talk about more in the future. Continue reading . . .
Since last fall, I’ve been working on a new book about a year in the life of the DC public school system(s) — as seen primarily through two schools: one a brand-new charter school, the other a 90-year-old neighborhood school — so I was thrilled to hear that WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi was dedicating a show [...]
Like most parents of a young child, I’m trying to decide which environment will be the best for my son when he enters a public school for the first time next fall. At nearly every open house my wife and I attend, cheerful administrators and educators tout the advantage of being a “participatory” school, and of “giving children the opportunity to learn and work in groups.” Send your child here, they tell us, and he’ll acquire a core set of democratic skills – from working collaboratively to acting empathetically – that will help him successfully negotiate our increasingly interconnected global community.
Sounds great, I say – until I open my Sunday New York Times and read a cover story warning against the rise of a new type of groupthink. “Most of us now work in teams,” writes author Susan Cain, “in offices without walls, for managers who prize people skills above all. Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in. But there’s a problem with this view. Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption.”
Whom should we trust? Have we overvalued democratic skills like collaboration and shared decision-making to our own detriment? And, in the end, should our schools be more or less democratic?
In the halls of Congress and on the presidential campaign trail, a debate is raging over which set of economic proposals to pursue in order to rebuild the national economy. At the same time, K-12 education reformers are engaged in their own frantic search for the right recipe(s) that can unlock the full power of teaching and learning. But rarely do we acknowledge that one individual stands, improbably, at the center of both debates – John Maynard Keynes.
There’s a lot of talk these days about the growing support for a privatization of America’s public school system, and what it augurs over the long haul. Typically, that’s as far as the conversation gets before breaking down into myopic talking points that force people to pledge allegiance to one of two camps: these days [...]