Most people debating how to improve education were good students, writes Andrew Rotherham in U.S. News. “The blind spots this creates are enormous.” They have trouble understanding what school is like for those who aren’t good at it.
Diane Ravitch, the school critic turned school defender, has a policy agenda for improving schools that boils down to making classrooms like the ones she liked most as a student. She’s hardly alone in idealizing a system that in practice worked only for a few. As one colleague remarked recently, “everybody likes the race they won.”
For successful students, education is a linear process, he writes. “But most Americans zig and zag.” For example, a majority of college students are part-timers, yet nearly everyone in the education debate attended full-time.
Most fundamentally, this mindset means almost everyone in education is focused on how to make an institution that is not enjoyable for many kids work marginally better. That’s basically what the top-performing public schools, be they charter or traditional schools, do now. . . .
(Among the abundant ironies is that reform critics deride today’s student testing policies as “one size fits all” while fighting against reforming a system that is itself one size fits all).
School is a bad fit for a lot of people, Rotherham concludes.
Homeschooling has freed some kids from traditional classrooms. What would help others? Technology? Career technical education?