Saturday, July 8, 2017

School Reform: Foolish Fads or Impossible Dream? | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

School Reform: Foolish Fads or Impossible Dream? | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

School Reform: Foolish Fads or Impossible Dream?

Image result for School Reform: Foolish Fads or Impossible Dream?

“It is easier to put a man on the moon than to reform public schools.” Jerrold Zachiarias, 1966*
“Changing schools is like moving a graveyard.” Hyman Rickover, 1983**
“The history of American education is a chronicle of fads.” W.W. Charters, 1922***
“In the four decades between when I started teaching English at T.C. [Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia] in 1970 and my retirement this year, I saw countless reforms come and go; some even returned years later disguised in new education lingo.” Patrick Welsh, 2013****
_________________________________________
These four quotes capture the clash of perspectives among ardent school reformers over the past century. Are schools rigid, unbending, self-protecting bureaucracies that seldom make deep and lasting change in governance, curriculum, and classroom practice? Or are schools faddish-driven institutions rushing to keep up with the most recent cure for whatever ails schools?
Sure, it sounds like a false either/or choice fitting the crisis-tinged rhetoric driving each wave of reform yet the historical facts are clear that all fads don’t take hold in classrooms and most schools do change in important ways. Those who indulge in the rhetoric of  reform relish dichotomies because they fit their  either-this-or-that world.  The notion of a spectrum where differences are arrayed along a continuum with a middle ground is anathema to those reformers who traffic in Chicken Little exclamations of the sky is falling.
The “chronicle of fads” crowd, mostly practitioners, point to the history of reform-after-reform and how few stick. Veteran teachers like Patrick Welsh have said repeatedly over decades that they have endured the onslaught of externally imposed “solutions” to “problems” that top officials, not teachers, had identified. Change? Schools do too much of it, this crowd says.
david-sipress-why-in-the-world-do-they-call-this-approach-cooperative-learning-cartoon.jpg
The “schools-never-change” crowd, mostly policy entrepreneurs, donors, and School Reform: Foolish Fads or Impossible Dream? | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Latest News and Comment from Education

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION
EduBloggers