Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Plague on Both Your Houses

A recurring theme in the new Diane Ravitch book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, is her disillusionment with the business model as applied to education. She complains that the school system is increasingly being run by businessmen, who aren't even trained educators.

Fie! Away with you all, I say!

On the one hand, businessmen have brought us the current obsession with standardized testing, accountability, and merit pay. We all know the disastrous effect this has had on education. These ideas don't necessarily work in the business world, either.

On the other hand, educators have brought us one silly fad after another, from Balanced Literacy to fog-brained math curricula. Their attempts to reinvent the wheel have left us mired in jargon and foolishness.

We need new voices in the education debate. How about listening to parents and kids for a change?

[Overachievers' footnote: "A plague on both your houses", often misquoted as "A pox on both your houses", was a curse uttered by the dying Mercutio, referring to the houses of Capulet and Montagu. From Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", of course!]


  1. The fads are marketed to the teachers and schools from too often slick profiteers with phony data phony testimonials, guerrilla marketing, kickbacks, glossy pamphlets, any thing you as a consumer are vulnerable to so are the teachers, and more so because they've got to close the achievement gap somehow, they've got to raise those test scores every year somehow and though they can't change or have any control whatsoever over many harsh realities, they can buy into the latest fad ... there's big money in education- public money that's skimmed, scammed, leached, gushed from public to private hands. Private business is a predatory animal.

    Out here anybody can start a charter school, a private company will provide you for a fee everything you need, everything. Then the government foots the bill.

    Who is more faddish than private business? It's all got to be consumed, the faster the better, and onto the next fad- new fads are where the quick money is.

  2. Everything is being turned into the business model...Help. Because the logical conclusion of a business model for a school says take the money and simply warehouse the kids for 8 hours. A business model is not appropriate for schools or health care ....because business would ditate dumping the sick people and outsourcing the educating . I'm waiting for a news item quoting Education Industry executives.