Friday, November 30, 2012

Sahlberg and Spencer on Education

Pasi Sahlberg wins a $100,000 prize for his book, “Finnish Lessons,” on education reform. John Spencer says that “Homework Should be Optional.” These articles highlight what I’ve often said which is that organizational structures are central to the quality of education and the welfare of the child.

Sahlberg argues that teachers should be better educated and better respected. Under those conditions, they should have large amounts of authority in the class. Think about it: You see a doctor. You respect the doctor. You know the doctor has had years of education. You don’t want your doctor “treating to the test,” but, rather, exercising judgment in your best interests.

Spencer says that kids should own their free time, while adding that parents own the home. We all know that children need direction so owning one’s time comes with some limits. But should those be limits imposed by teachers who are not even trained to give homework? Or should those be limits through the supervision of caring parents?

I don’t think effective educational reform will take place unless we shore up and support the natural structures children need to grow and learn. And those structures require that teachers defer to parents as the ultimate decision-makers in their homes.

But if you and your child are homework trapped, the time is now. You can’t wait for society to take the approaches that Sahlberg and Spencer suggest. You need solutions for tonight that will keep you from battling with the child you love. If you are in that position, visit The Homework Trap website for more information.

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