Delbanco sets up a dichotomy between long-time education reformer Diane Ravitch, who’s drifting into a rather closed defense of public-schooling as is, and Michelle Rhee, who led the charge against the status quo in Washington D.C. schools and ran into a lot of problems:
‘Perhaps a starting point would be to acknowledge, as Ravitch does, that the golden age of master teachers and model children never existed, and, as Rhee insists, that the bureaucracy of our schools is wary of change. One thing that certainly won’t help our children is any ideology convinced of its exclusive possession of the truth.’
Worth a read.
Readers of this blog will know I tend to favor non-union, non-collectivist reform of public schooling, despite the fact that charter schools are clearly no magic bullet.
I reserve the right to view even the most dedicated school-reformers, pragmatist-inspired defenders of the common good, and crusaders for the public interest with a skeptical eye, while simultaneously recognizing that they are the ones trying to tackle many of the fundamental problems our society faces in terms of education and opportunity.
I don’t believe education fits under Milton Friedman’s intellectual net, but I like seeing how he comes at the problems of scarcity of resources, students failed by the system, and entrenched educators. As teachers will tell you, many parents simply aren’t involved, and abdicate their responsibilities to their children, the schools, and everyone else…money can be a good way to keep people accountable who run the system, but the rational incentive model of money and the freedom to choose with kids leaves a lot to be desired:
Rhee stated much the same here: She didn’t with the people who I are most involved…Michelle Rhee At Newsweek: “What I’ve Learned”…Repost-’Too Much “Quality Control” In Universities?’