Saturday, April 28, 2012

Education as big business

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.

No comments: