Sunday, June 12, 2011

Education reform, unions, first principles

Or, More Questions than Answers

I'm bashing my head against two posts: this one from Shawn Gude, and this one from E.D. Kane.  trying to figure out what it is that bothers me about them.  I agree with nearly everything they both say, but neither of them it for me.  In 6 Traits writing speak, I would give them a 5 out of 6 in Ideas, without quite knowing why.

Favorite lines:

"Ends are often regarded as self-evident. It’s a bit more complicated than agreeing that, yes, we all want an education system where students are well-educated. Reform discourse needs to include discussions of first principles, end-games, and educational values" --Gude

"[T]here is no doubt in my mind that corporate for-profit charter chains would be a mess; that the influence of the big foundations can create perverse incentives; and that the top-down approach of many reformers is a bad approach." --Kane

Things I have trouble with:

"So I support the unions, I just think they also need to reform. And I support the idea of charter schools and school-choice, I just don’t support the profiteering off of education that some reformers and corporate interests seem to want. I think charters, like unions, can be a great force for progress." --Kane

How do unions need to reform?  He seems to be in favor of all the things that unions do.
How can charters be a force for progress?  What do they bring to the table?  I'm glad that both of these people (much better than me at this stuff) are leery of charters run by for-profit companies.

In the end, we're left with the beginning.  Why do we educate our children?  Do we want to make our students ready for the workplace?  Well, yes, but is that all schools are good for?  If so, then we should probably just go back to apprenticeships as our primary vehicle for education.  That way, the cost is borne by the companies who will benefit from their labor.  If we want our schools to do more for our students than that, if we want students who think about things, if we want inventive, creative thinkers, that's something different.

And, of course, if we want schools to be vehicles by which the children of the rich and powerful remain rich and powerful, we have models for that, as well.

No comments: