School Reformers Cry “Wolf!”
What’s wrong with America’s educators these days? Why don’t they believe school reformers when they say they have plans to “fix the schools?”
Maybe it’s because real educators want nothing more than to work, unimpeded, with actual children.
Maybe it’s because the reformers have cried, “Wolf!” once too often. Or twenty times too often.
Doubtless, millions of educators across the country could add examples to this kind of story. But I’ll start with Rod Paige, Secretary of Education under President George W. Bush. You may recall that while serving as superintendent of the Houston City Public Schools, Mr. Paige won acclaim for the “Houston Miracle.” On the strength of his walk-on-water powers, he followed Mr. Bush to Washington in 2001, where the Texas duo promised to duplicate miracles on a fifty-state stage.
Simply stated, Mr. Paige claimed to have reduced dropouts in many inner city high schools to zero.
It turned out later that the “Houston Miracle” was less miracle and more a matter cooking the books. One Houston high school, for example, managed to classify all 462 dropouts as “transfers.” Unfortunately, by the time everyone realized Mr. Paige couldn’t turn water into wine he was ensconced at the U. S. Department of Education.
On January 8, 2002, President Bush signed No Child Left Behind into law. Now it was the turn of A Teacher on Teaching: School Reformers Cry “Wolf!”: