Monday, April 11, 2011

Cathie Black debacle just the latest in a long line of miscues by education reformers

Here's the op ed Rotherham links to by Josh Greenman of the NY Daily News.  He makes some good points about missteps by reformers, though in truth I think most sensible reformers understand the limitations of value-added systems and charter schools.  I also think he's wrong on the timing – we were NOWHERE five years ago, but we've probably lost a little momentum, at least in certain states, relative to 6-12 months ago.  That said, the Republican sweep of the November elections in many states has led to huge reforms enacted (or soon to be enacted) in Florida, Ohio, Michigan and elsewhere:


Five years ago, momentum to expand public school choice, hold educators more accountable for results through testing and chip away at the power of the teachers union seemed almost unstoppable.

Today, those who resist these changes - and instead want primarily to spend more money on reducing class sizes - are emboldened.

The reformers are overwhelmingly correct on the merits. For too long, we've treated all teachers the same regardless of quality, when we should be rewarding the very best and removing the worst. We've allowed progressive ideology to take over teacher training institutions. We've elevated process and downgraded content in the classroom. We've succumbed to, as George W. Bush put it, the soft bigotry of low expectations with respect to many poor and minority students - assuming that because they come from disadvantaged backgrounds, they can't learn.

But in their zeal and, frankly, hubris, the reformers have made a series of unforced errors that have set the movement back - none more boneheaded or powerfully symbolic than Mayor Bloomberg's choice of magazine publisher Cathie Black to run the nation's largest and most complex school system.


Cathie Black debacle just the latest in a long line of miscues by education reformers

Thursday, April 7th 2011, 12:04 PM

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