Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stupid or Evil? Take 254

John Thompson:

Eli Broad's Education Week Commentary "Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste" proves the dictum that a journal of record should never deny a billionaire the soap box he craves, even if he offers little of substance. Especially when a corporate leader is just pontificating, always let him speak. Broad's "do what I say, not what I do" approach to school reform offers an invaluable glimpse into what he thinks the "billionaires boys club" is doing for schools. It also shows that Broad has no clue about what it is actually doing to schools.

Based on "one difficult year" teaching in a university a half of a century ago, Broad says that schools should "never shy from an unreasonable goal." Broad tells educators to "use crises as chances to rethink everything, question your assumptions, and start afresh." For instance, Broad complains that diverse children with varied learning styles should not be expected to "learn the same lesson taught in the same way."

So, Mr. Broad, why were poor children in Philadelphia and my home of Oklahoma City subjected to a rushed, top down, paced curriculum, where everyone "learn(s) the same lesson taught in the same way?" Our "everyone must be on the same page" instruction was imposed by a graduate of the Broad Superintendent's Academy. Where did our superintendent, who had no background in urban education, get such a strange idea? His mentor, Arlene Ackerman, was superintendent of the Broad Academy. She then imposed the same command and control model on neighborhood schools in Philadelphia.

Or both, of course.


doyle said...

"Or both, of course."

Indeed. The result is the same no matter what the motive.

I don't comment enough here, mostly because you succinctly capture what needs to be said.

I scour your blog at least twice daily, as a lot of us do, because you keep pushing truth and joy.

Tom Hoffman said...

This editorial would be a great chance for, say, the AFT to take a great whack at Broad. How about an open letter saying "Mr. Broad, You may not know this, but to teachers all over the country, your name is synonymous with being forced by district administrators to teach all students the same lesson on the same day regardless of their needs. If you would like a different legacy in American education, perhaps you would look more closely at the policies promoted by the foundation bearing your name."