In U.S. News & World Report today I take a look at all the things we ask of school districts. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense:
School districts around the country are getting ready for the 2017 school year, which for many starts in just a few weeks. Officials are thinking about transporting students to school, what they’ll feed them, health services for them, sports teams and schedules, and all the other things we call on school districts to do. Meanwhile, if you’re lucky, someone might also be focused on who is going to teach your child and what they’re going to teach.
Backward? Yes, of course it is. And like many things in our education system it’s not what we might design but instead what has evolved and embedded itself over time. Teaching and learning, ostensibly the core functions of schools and school districts, are now just one among many important things we expect them to do…
…As a rule the highest quality institutions we see, in all sectors, are ones that focus on being excellent at something. It’s just hard to be outstanding at a lot of things at once. Yet that’s what we ask of school districts year after year even as they struggle, mediocrity is the norm, and high-quality instruction is often an afterthought. So maybe we shouldn’t?
Dmitri Mehlhorn on his old school and the adult-first politics in education. See if you can figure out what Jay Greene thought of the recent Times piece on Detroit schools. So cryptic!
Checker Finn defends the teachers’ unions: Hey, could be worse, they’re not running around killing people!
Student loan sharking in NJ.