According to this article by a writer named Rob Stein, both are wars that “we have neither the will nor the willingness to win”. With that great analogy as the start he goes on to list the major so-called reforms being proposed – standardized testing, vouchers, prayer (!), etc. – and illustrates how each is nothing more than a diversion from the real educational reform that is sorely needed.
With only eighteen years of teaching experience and no doctorate, I’m no educational expert but I think this guy is right on target. The educational system in this country needs much more substantial (dare I say radical without the feds showing up at the door) reforms, ones that require completely new ways of thinking about teaching and learning.
Let’s start with continuous schooling rather than the start-stop, nine month, highly segemented approach to the school year that was only valid when most kids came from farm families (at least a century back). Another is losing the concept that teaching is something that anyone can do with minimal training and little or no additional training. And flush the old theory that teachers are only in it for the love of the kids (and are the second income in the household) so we can pay substandard salaries. Plus kill the idiotic concept that standarized tests will improve learning!
The magazine this article came from, HeadFirst Colorado, says they try to bring together diverse viewpoints on educational policy in Colorado. But the articles I’ve read from the current issue have lots to think about for anyone in American education. This site is going on the regular read list.