Are you tired of listening to the usual suspects on education policy? So am I. Education policy debates are dominated by a small number of very loud voices. In these debates, ideological claims, rather than research, data, the experience of educators, and common sense, are wielded as weapons. What are some of the problems I see with these debates?
• A selective reading of educational research: The loudest outlets pick and choose which studies are relevant, often leading to a skewed view of what we know and don’t know about how to improve schools.
• An inattention to the costs and benefits of policies: Policy solutions are endorsed as if they have no downside. But we know that all actions have positive and negative consequences. The education policy debate would benefit from such an acknowledgement.
• A fundamental disrespect for the knowledge of teachers and principals who work in public schools: Too often, teachers and administrators are dismissed as “self-interested” or “protecting the status quo” when they question what policymakers wreak on their classrooms and schools. In no other profession are we willing to discount the opinions of those closest to the work at hand. Education should be no different.
Rather than stepping into this ideological boxing ring, this blog takes a different approach.
Eduwonkette will consider some of the most contentious education policy debates from a different perspective, including teacher quality, testing and the No Child Left Behind Act, merit pay, the achievement gap, charter schools, school choice, social promotion, and school funding. In addition to providing regular commentary on the real-time education news, each week I’ll pick one of these issues to discuss in more depth.
My hope is that this blog provides a forum for a broader discussion about the possibilities for, and barriers to, improving schools for American children.
But eduwonkette is not all about being wonky. We'll have some fun, too. See below for a preview.
Feel free to email me at eduwonkette (at) gmail.com with comments, ideas, or questions.