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.