Monday, December 17, 2007

Jay Mathews' Top 10 Concerns About Education

Washington Post education reporter Jay Mathews identifies his Top 10 Concerns About Education in an interview with

What do you see as the top ten concerns in education? What are the biggest concerns in the Washington Circle?

My concerns or Washington's? I will go with mine:

1. Low standards and expectations in low-income schools.
2. Very inadequate teacher training in our education schools.
3. Failure to challenge average students in nearly all high schools with AP and IB courses.
4. Corrupt and change-adverse bureaucracies in big city districts.
5. A tendency to judge schools by how many low income kids they have, the more there are the worse the school in the public mind.
6. A widespread feeling on the part of teachers, because of their inherent humanity, that it is wrong to put a child in a challenging situation where they may fail, when that risk of failure is just what they need to learn and grow.
7. The widespread belief among middle class parents that their child must get into a well known college or they won't be as successful in life.
8. A failure to realize that inner city and rural schools need to give students more time to learn, and should have longer school days and school years.
9. A failure to realize that the best schools--like the KIPP charter schools in the inner cities---are small and run by well-recruited and trained principals who have the power to hire all their teachers, and quickly fire the ones that do not work out.
10. The resistance to the expansion of charter schools in most school district offices.

Much more is discussed in the article.


KauaiMark said...

8, 9 and 10 are all union "bones" to gnaw over.

allenm said...

1. The warping effect that the performance-averse public education system exerts on, particularly, schools of education and to a lesser extent on higher education in general.
2. See 1.
3. Shmuck-of-the-hour award to Jay Mathews. Districts don't challenge principals to run excellent schools, principals thus don't have any reason to challenge teachers to run excellent classes. So what's the incentive to teachers to encourage students to excel? If no one's measuring performance then let's just all try to slide by with as little sturm un drang as possible.
4. Redundant.
5. Huh? Who's doing the judging and, oh by the way, the judges appear to be, largely, correct.
6. Yeah, it's a tragedy.
7. Parents want what they percieve to be best for their children. Stop the presses.
8. Yeah, more time to do what it is you're supposed to be doing. Let's call NASA, maybe they've got a rocket scientist or two who can appreciate the concept.
9. A failure? On whose part?
10. That's a symptom not a disease. Perhaps a nationally-known columnist could grit his teeth and come up with a somewhat more meaningful insight.

Anonymous said...

I hate the left-wing indoctrination. My girfriend's son began spouting some anti-President Bush crap, and he said he hears that stuff from his teachers and support staff at his school (in the VERY left-wing People's Republic of Ann Arbor, MI "public" school system). I told him if I was his father, that I would go to his school and have a chat with the staff about how since they're getting paid by my tax dollars they better stick to teaching FACTS and knock off the indoctrination! I may go and do that anyway.

-- chicopanther