Michael Shaughnessy interviews the Washington Post’s Jay Matthews:
7) 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:
- Low standards and expectations in low-income schools.
- Very inadequate teacher training in our education schools.
- Failure to challenge average students in nearly all high schools with AP and IB courses.
- Corrupt and change-adverse bureaucracies in big city districts.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The resistance to the expansion of charter schools in most school district offices.
Matthews list is comprehensive and on target.