Tuesday, January 10, 2017

CURMUDGUCATION: Should Devos Make This Argument for Choice?

CURMUDGUCATION: Should Devos Make This Argument for Choice?:

Should Devos Make This Argument for Choice?


Rick Hess (American Enterprise Institute) is using the occasion of the DeVos nomination to make some points about choice as a reform strategy. This is fair-- all of us in the education debates are both agitated about the nomination and aware that, for at least these fifteen minutes, American political discourse is actually paying attention to education. So we're all busy articulating our thoughts about the subject; there's no reason reformsters shouldn't do the same.


So Hess is at National Review with "What Betsy DeVos Should Tell the Senate," a four-part argument for choice that is his dream speech for DeVos, a Hess-crafted argument for choice programs. As is often the case, while I disagree with almost everything he has to say, I appreciate his ability to articulate it clearly so that I can more clearly understand where he goes wrong. So let's look at the four acts of this failed play:

First, teaching and learning are natural, intuitive acts. They aren’t the exotic product of some mysterious alchemy.

There are, of course, other possibilities that are neither gut-based or alchemic. For instance, teaching is a craft that requires training and experience and a serious background of knowledge. Hess's point that "humans are natural learners" with brains "hard-wired" to understand and learn and know is absolutely legit. His observation that "adults are predisposed to share knowledge, interests and skills" might a bit more open to debate. His implication that, therefor, teaching is no big deal and probably anyone can do it (as it doesn't require arcane training or special setting) is arguably false.

His bigger point is that "systems, structures, and bureaucratic rules are getting in the way--" and oh my God, I just realized that Rick Hess of the conservative AEI is actually a closet hippy! Fight the 
CURMUDGUCATION: Should Devos Make This Argument for Choice?:



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