Is significant school reform needed or not?: an open letter to Diane Ravitch (and like-minded educators)

Grant Wiggins:

It’s also noteworthy how you tiptoe here around the elephant in the room in the preceding paragraph: to what extent today’s teachers are doing an adequate job. Indeed, much of your polemic is to criticize those who say that “blame must fall on the shoulders of teachers and principals.” Well, why shouldn’t it? That’s where achievement and change do or do not happen. Instead, you blame the forces of privatization and corporatism and poverty. Indeed, even, in the first paragraph above you lament merely a lack of “standards” and “curriculum” – a de-personalized critique. So, which is it? Are schools doing as well as they can with the teachers they have, or not? Are kids getting the education they deserve or not?
I think there is plenty of evidence about the inadequacies of much current teaching that you and I find to be credible and not insidiously motivated. How else, in fact, would you say that schools aren’t “fine” as they are? Reform is strongly needed in many schools (and not just the dysfunctional urban schools). To say that these problems are somehow not due to teaching and mostly due to forces outside of school walls belies the fact that schools with both non-poor students and adequate resources are also under-performing, and outlier schools serving poor children have had important successes.

  • william.p rowe

    Impaired parenting practices result in an increasing percentage of students arriving to their first day in school with little value for learning (having never seen a parent read) little value for authority because their parent has little self value and is blaming others for failure (the teacher is an authority fiqure)Little value for work (required to learn) An expectation that the governmnt must provide etc. The student returns each day to home where these negative attitudes are reinforced. These parents love their children but need help in parenting practices. Teachers are trained to lead school age.The cause is outside the schools,in the homes sometimes parents in prison or otherwise incapacitated. We need to refocus our social welfare,corrections etc. programs to helping these prents with parenting practices. This is a community problem .More money to schools has never helped,blaming teachers has never helped . We need community leaders such as politicans,business leaders,racial and ethnic leaders to reorganize,refocus present scoial programs to help parents improve their parenting practices.Parents impaired by addictions cannot reflect the values of self respect required for their children to learn.