Monday, November 25, 2013

A Ray of Hope for Education

In the depression and gloom of the current movement of  the private sector take over of public education there's a ray of hope that has to be developed from its quiet, gentle nucleus into a roaring inferno that will  extinguish the darkness that is enveloping our schools.

That ray of hope, a beacon of light, is embodied in the writings of Diane Ravitch and others with  visions of what education should be. In this particular piece she asks why we have to treat schools like sports teams with leagues containing winners and losers. Race to the Top has done much to engender this analogy by implying the education is a competition in which everyone is racing to get to the top.

The interesting thing about that analog, for that's surely  what it must be, is that it implies so many different ways in which some people are better than others. If it is a race it implies there are winners and losers; that not all people can be at the top. Even if everyone could reach the top it wouldn't be the top anymore because 'top' is a relative position implying that those on top are on top of those below those below. If everyone was on top they couldn't be on top because there would be no-one for them to be on top of.  This makes the whole idea of Race to the Top rediculous.

As Ravitch says ' We must think and act differently. If we do, we will not only have better schools, but a better society, where people help one another instead of finding a way to beat out their competitors".

Now the big question is how can we get the private sector to think in that same collaborative way where individual people come before dollars and the profit margin? 

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