Monday, March 11, 2013
Education Catastrophe Redux- A Story of Non Transferable Skills
Most people who know me think I am pretty good at two things- playing tennis and teaching history. I worked really hard to acquire those skills and feel pretty good about the result. Now imagine if, based what competence I had acquired in those areas, I was put in charge writing new protocols for every highway engineer in the United States, and creating evaluations for those engineers to assess the quality of their designs.. Would you feel confident that new highways in the country, designed under my administration, were going to be safe and efficient? What I just described is a good metaphor for what is happening in education in the US. Every dimension of education policy has been put in the hands of people who have had success in other areas, leaving long time professionals in the field devoid of input. Is it any surprise that the results are a complete disaster. That everything that makes students excited school is being pushed out, while mind numbing testing is being pushed in. Or that school after school is being closed in neighborhoods under stress that desperately need stability? Many of the most powerful people shaping the direction of education in the US, Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg, Joel Klein, have never been classroom teachers. Is it any wonder that what they are presiding over has destroyed teacher morale in the country and made children hate school?