Education Week blogger Rick Hess writes about the latest round of education reform and where the players are in their thinking – now:
Diane [Ravitch] is now making the same mistake, in reverse, that she and so many school choice and accountability enthusiasts made in the 1990s (and the same mistake that [Arne] Duncan makes today when he proclaims that charter schooling or merit pay “work”). Both Diane’s stance and Duncan’s reflect the misguided premise that chartering or accountability is a way to improve instruction–like a new curriculum, professional development model, or reading program–rather than an opportunity to create the conditions where sustained improvement in teaching and learning become possible.
A lack of choice can force educators to simultaneously serve families with very different demands and responses to discipline or calls for parental involvement, making it difficult to establish common norms. A lack of autonomy makes it difficult for principals to assemble a team of teachers who embrace shared expectations and instructional principles. The institutional and political turbulence endemic to school systems means that superintendents change jobs every few years, and district priorities and initiatives change along with them. Bureaucratic and contractual rules governing discipline, the school day, or professional development can trip up district leaders seeking to emulate effective school models.
Around and around they go. When will it be recognized that an institution can’t emulate the ‘family learning’ model?
Okay, I do make a jump in thinking there… Schools have been asked to fill the role of the family, more by default than design. Don’t read that looking for either an endorsement of public schools nor an attempt to spin out an ‘evil people at your local school…’ statement (most of the ‘evil spin’ language is projection – IMHO.)
It just appears to me that the nation has allowed itself to become as dependent on schools as, say, electricity or running water. A vast industry supports the institution of public schooling which feeds, and feeds off of this dependency. Schedules, careers, mortgages, futures are all based on schools being there. That dependency has locked most families into whatever new reform is rolled out to save the institution.
As schools keep needing to be ‘reformed,’ homeschooling just keeps working. Which takes me back to my question – when will it be recognized that an institution can’t emulate the family learning model?