This article has been running around my head since breakfast and I’m not sure exactly how to express exactly what bothers me about it.
In this morning’s Post, Jay Mathews tries to make the case that schools with poor facilities don’t matter as long as they have good teachers and administrators.
Educators who have turned bad schools into good ones are patient with me, as they are with parents who put so much emphasis on everything looking nice. They nod when I ask about the bad impression left by a soiled restroom stall or a broken air conditioner. Then they repeat what they have said to me before: It is not the building, but the teaching, that makes a difference.
I agree. Well… sort of.
There’s something about this line of logic that just not right.
It’s the kind of either-or argument used by politicians and others to justify short-changing school programs of all kinds.
We can pay teachers less if they have good working conditions.
You can have high reading and math scores or teach music and art.
“We can get the money we need to fix the facilities, once everyone sees that those are schools worth repairing.”
I wish I could write a better explanation of why that thinking is so very wrong.
Anyone else care to give it a try?