Richard Whitmire takes a look at the vitriol in the education debate. He’s right, of course, about the rhetoric and tone. But, how much of that is edu-specific and how much just a reflection of the times we’re living in. You may have noticed that education is not an outlier in otherwise civil debates about public policies. And, how much of all this is a natural byproduct of social change?
Today about 8 percent of low-income kids can expect to earn a college degree by the time they’re 24 – a figure that is actually lower in some American cities. And high school dropout rates for black and Hispanic students are, on average, around 40 percent – and far worse in many urban and rural communities. That’s a catastrophic problem perpetuated by an incredibly powerful and durable set of political and stakeholder arrangements that are now under unprecedented scrutiny. So, given the history of social change in this country, it’s also worth asking if we’re going to see major changes without a lot of contention?
Not saying we can’t do better, only that we should also be realistic.
Update: He’s everywhere! Whitmire and RiShawn Biddle in today’s USAT.