Let’s agree: Schools should help grow citizens

How are we polarized about education? John Merrow counts the ways. We can’t agree on accountability, achievement, how schools should be run, the role of technology, the job of teaching and assessment, he writes. We’re polarized on the power of school vs. the limits of school. All the fighting is tiring.

We need to agree on the purposes of public education, Merrow writes.  “The goal of school is to help grow American citizens.”  Then we have to define what it means to be a good citizen.

“We are what we repeatedly do,” Aristotle told us. If we complain all the time but do nothing to change the situation, that’s who we are: whiners.

. . .  We need to get beyond polarization and figure out what we agree on. Do we agree that children should learn to write well? We know that the only way to learn that skill is by writing and rewriting, guided by someone who is knowledgeable. If we value good writing, we ought to be insisting children write and rewrite all through school.

Do we, like, want our children to, you know, be able to speak clearly, persuasively and articulately? The road requires practice, practice, practice.

The way to develop readers is by reading, not by practicing to pass reading tests.

“Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit,” said Aristotle.

Educating citizens, not just workers

Pressured to prepare students for the workforce, America’s colleges have forgotten their civic and democratic mission, argues a new report: Colleges must educate citizens, not just workers.