I wrote the following comment:
Good article. I think that it is important that we not blame teachers. I also think it is important to not blame students or parents. I found particularly interesting your comments about the examples of successful schools that went against the grain and became the basis for saying it can be done, and mandating change as public policy. Undoubtedly, those good schools developed not because others made the schools be that way, but because there were visionary teachers and principals who made things happen in those schools. What I find strikingly absent from any discussion of high performing schools in at risk districts is the mention of homework. I think the principles that mandate against blaming teachers and trying to micromanage success apply to the home as well. Teachers who do very well with high risk students accept what they cannot control, life outside the school, and make the school a vibrant, educational experience. This concept happens to be true for high performing schools as well. Those schools will invariably have some low performing students, students who do not seem to meet their potential, and in most cases, this is due to an over-valuing of homework, and an excessive desire to control what happens in the home.
Dr. Kenneth Goldberg, is the author of The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Teachers, and Students, published by Wyndmoor Press.