Also on the Monday education page of this morning’s post, Jay Mathews wants us to know that Educators Resist Even Good Ideas From Outsiders
With two massive parental revolts nearing victory in Fairfax County, and mothers and fathers elsewhere in the area plotting similar insurgencies, it is time to disclose a great truth about even the best educators I know: As much as they deny it, they really don’t like outsiders messing with the way they do their jobs.
He’s right. Most educators really do work very hard to keep outsiders from sticking their fingers into the process of teaching.
However, the two examples of “parental revolts” from our overly-large school district that Mathews uses are rather weak support for the case.
For one thing, neither could be considered “massive”.
In both cases, relatively small groups, one calling for a modification to our grading system, another wanting a later start time for high schools, made a lot of noise and attracted the attention of the news media. Like Mathews and the Post.
The bigger problem with these “revolts”, however, is that they address relatively minor issues.
Whether a student receives an A or a B+ for scoring 91% on a test is not nearly important as what is being taught and the quality of instruction.
Compared to the numbers demanding their kids be able to sleep later, there are very few parents storming into school board meetings demanding that those same kids receive instruction beyond what will appear on the standardized tests.
I see few who are questioning whether their kids are developing skills that are actually relevant in the real world.
There are more than a few of us in the education business that would love to see outsiders coming through the door with some good ideas.
We absolutely need to involve everyone, including the most important part of the equation, the students, in creating a better system for teaching and learning.
But it would be nice if these “good” ideas were more substantive than just small changes to the daily schedule or a tweak in the grading system to boost little Johnny’s GPA.