To say we have a crisis in education begs the question of whether it’s a single educational crisis or a broader set of society-wide factors. Over the past 50 years we’ve moved to a global marketplace with our educational system shaped by us thinking about how we compete with others around the world. We have longstanding issues of race relations and efforts to have integrated schools thwarted up and down the line, starting with the school busing debate but continuing today in other forms. Our drug problem fosters distribution centers in urban neighborhoods where countless young people sacrifice their lives expecting no more than early death or incarceration. Our child protection system puts large amounts of resources into keeping children safe without clear evidence that they are safe, while often disrupting family life. And we have a tendency in response to take these converging social issues, to lay blame on teachers, and in turn lay blame on parents, when, in fact, it is honoring the natural hierarchies of the school and the home that are most central the long-term education and welfare of our children. Perhaps, I join the fray with my own focus on a single issue, homework, too much to the exclusion of the larger picture of interlocking forces. I think it is safe to say that these varied societal forces are intertwined.
Dr. Kenneth Goldberg is a clinical psychologist with 35 years of professional experience in dealing with many different psychological issues. He is the author of The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers and currently works in his own private practice.
Visit the The Homework Trap website