Let Kids Rule the School
Susan Engel with yet another misguided op ed in today's NYT. This time, she writes about a study that has all of eight (eight!) students, and uses it to bash all testing (get a load of this dopey sentence: "We want young people to become independent and capable, yet we structure their days to the minute and give them few opportunities to do anything but answer multiple-choice questions, follow instructions and memorize information") and recommend that the U.S. educational system reorient itself around Independent Projects. Oh puh-leeeeeze!
Schools everywhere could initiate an Independent Project. All it takes are serious, committed students and a supportive faculty. These projects might not be exactly alike: students might apportion their time differently, or add another discipline to the mix. But if the Independent Project students are any indication, participants will end up more accomplished, more engaged and more knowledgeable than they would have been taking regular courses.
We have tried making the school day longer and blanketing students with standardized tests. But perhaps children don't need another reform imposed on them. Instead, they need to be the authors of their own education.
I've written plenty about Engel in the past. See: http://edreform.blogspot.com/2010/02/playing-to-learn.html, http://edreform.blogspot.com/2010/02/my-response-to-professor-engel.html, http://edreform.blogspot.com/2010/02/professor-engel-and-melinda-hamilton.html, http://edreform.blogspot.com/2010/02/willingham-on-susan-engel.html, and http://edreform.blogspot.com/2009/12/teach-your-teachers-well.html