Thursday, August 4, 2016

Reformers ‘disrupted’ public education. Now an Ivy League dean says the consequences for kids are ‘devastating.’ - The Washington Post

Reformers ‘disrupted’ public education. Now an Ivy League dean says the consequences for kids are ‘devastating.’ - The Washington Post:
Reformers ‘disrupted’ public education. Now an Ivy League dean says the consequences for kids are ‘devastating.’


You’ve heard it before. Traditional public schools in America once worked but don’t anymore. They are failing. It is imperative, some say, to “disrupt” the situation. That is what corporate school reformers have attempted to do — with efforts to expand school choice, elevate the importance of education technology, and use test scores to drive policy as well as the evaluation of students, schools and teachers. Anyone who questioned the notion of failing schools, or the need for disruption, was called a lover of the status quo, someone who didn’t really want to help kids.
After years of educational “disruption,” some of the results are ugly. In this important post, Pam Grossman, dean of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and a specialist in teacher education and development, writes about the dangerous effects of this type of “disruption” in the public schools.
By Pam Grossman
“Disruption” — the philosophy that’s worked its way through so many industries — has become a buzzword among education reformers. Tear up the systems. Invent something new. Iterate through the failures until you find success.
But in education, disruption that ignores research about what works can disrupt children’s lives and opportunities.  As we have seen in the cities where these experiment are being tried on the biggest scale — Detroit, New Orleans, Philadelphia — when disruption fails, the consequences for children are devastating.
In Detroit, the disruption came via a boom in charter schools that forced schools to compete for students and families to fill seats and make budgets work. Even the city’s best district schools and its best charters struggle to make progress in an environment where students routinely hop between schools and uncertainty is the only constant.  Schools are forced to compete not only for students, but for teachers and leaders as well – the human resources that are most critical to educational success.
The real disruption in Detroit has been the severing of relationships between students, families, teachers, and leaders, which research tells us is the very foundation of high quality education. The trust that families place in schools takes time to develop, as high performing schools of all kinds — district, charter, parochial alike — understand. The kind of churn we see in Detroit undermines the opportunity for even the most committed educators to develop that trust. The Reformers ‘disrupted’ public education. Now an Ivy League dean says the consequences for kids are ‘devastating.’ - The Washington Post:

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