Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In Education, This is Not a War of Ideas

I found John Merrow's recent post, A Polarized Education System, to be rather depressing. I don't always agree with Merrow, but generally he brings a robust perspective. Education in the US traditionally falls into pointless either/or debates, and Merrow runs down his current list

He says we are polarized about:

  1. accountability
  2. achievement (gaps)
  3. how schools should be run
  4. the power of school/the limits of school
  5. the role of technology
  6. the job of teaching
  7. assessment
  8. the purposes of public education

I would argue that in almost every one of these cases, the greater problem is that reformers will claim to (and actually) take either side depending on the context. What is really at stake is centralizing power and control in the hands of themselves and their allies (with the ideology of the market as a means to that end). The closer to ground level you get the more egregious the contradictions, but it doesn't matter if the discussion is all at 50,000 feet.

1 comment:

Stephen Downes said...

I love the way the comments descended immediately into a debate on how to interpret international test results. If the commenter's plan was to distract attention from the main point, it worked to perfection.