Gail Collins wrote this column today in The New York Times.
I left the following comment.
There is no doubt that if money is to be made, businesses swoop in, but I
don’t think that is the issue as much as the fact that desperate people
look for solutions, and parents of children in failing schools are
desperate. They want safe schools first, and effective schools next.
Even when statistics may not support the charter movement, safety is a
sufficient reason for a parent to want that school. If we look at the
issue in an even more expansive way, not just failing schools but
failing students – some schools failing lots of their students but
others failing some, we realize that the key component, whether the
school is public or private, lies in shoring up the authority of the
teachers to work directly and personally with their students, and that
this lack of authority comes from different sources, some imposed on
teachers from the outside and some they make for themselves. All this
standardized testing and humiliating outside evaluations hurts the
educational process by weakening teachers. But overreliance on homework
does just as much harm. We need safe schools, teachers in charge of
their classrooms reporting to principals in charge of their schools. If
there is not enough time to teach the kids in class, then expand the
class time; give extra tutoring in school, but place very little
reliance on what happens in the homes, and for sure, don’t halt or stop a
child’s education, if he cannot get his homework done. Kenneth
Goldberg, Ph.D. www.thehomeworktrap.com.