In the Wall Street Journal, Hoover fellow Bill Evers describes his five months as an education advisor in Baghdad. The challenge was not to do too much for the Iraqis.
The White House had specifically told my colleagues and me to concentrate on getting the children, teachers and textbooks back in the classrooms. We were wisely admonished by White House officials to offer our best advice when asked by Iraqis, but to avoid directly imposing extensive reforms on the Iraqi schools. We followed this suggested course. Thus, we helped remove totalitarian teachings from the classrooms, helped the schools and ministry resume operations, and kept our advisory office small. Now Iraqis themselves are restructuring the ministry organization, considering decentralization plans, and holding forums on curriculum reform and the future of Iraq’s school system.
An Iraqi minister of education, appointed by the governing council, took charge in September, 2003. Evers is optimistic about the future of Iraqi education — and the future of Iraq.