9.02.2012

Education crisis accepted, yet teachers held in high regard

Flickr: laffy4k
In "Fifty Years of Failed School Reform," longtime educational theorist John Goodlad said it's "more than passing strange" that the American public takes for granted that schools are a disaster, yet holds teachers near the top of the public's trust.

The Institute for Educational Inquiry in Seattle, posted a series of articles on The Washington Post's The Answer Sheet. Goodlad introduced his article with this epigraph:
"Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent." — Ellwood Cubberley, 1909
Goodlad has worked in the field of education for decades. In his article, he gave a brief history of education reform ideas and efforts by government. He pointed to the space race of the 1950s and 60s as a time when government increased its role in creating expectations for the educational performance of teachers and students, and he wrote:
"As always with reform era reports, those who are to implement the recommendations do not get to participate in their formulation."
Goodlad commented on the providentially-commissioned "A Nation at Risk" (1983), the No Child Left Behind Act (2001), and the Race to the Top. His criticisms of schooling and reform plans included a lack of purpose for schooling outside of academic. Goodlad defines education as
"the process of becoming a unique human being whose responsibility it is to make the most of oneself."
What is the purpose of schooling? If it's only for access to academic training, Goodlad says we don't need schools for that in this technological age.

Goodlad doesn't like the term "reform." He wrote about continuous renewal for the schools of tomorrow in part 2 and part 3 of his series.

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