Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting. The latest of his articles raises interesting topic on “school reform”.
Love them or hate them, the proposals collectively known as “school reform” are mostly top-down policies: divert public money to quasi-private charter schools, pit states against one another in a race for federal education dollars, offer rewards when test scores go up, fire the teachers or close the schools when they don’t.
Policy makers and the general public have paid much less attention to what happens inside classrooms — the particulars of teaching and learning — especially in low-income neighborhoods. The news here has been discouraging for quite some time, but, in a painfully ironic twist, things seem to be getting worse as a direct result of the “reform” strategies pursued by the Bush administration, then intensified under President Obama, and cheered by corporate executives and journalists.