Thursday, May 2, 2013

New Private School in NYC

The New York Times Magazine has a long article here about a new private school in New York City called Avenues.  The article emphasized how involved parents were in this school, trying to control every aspect of the education—sort of helicopter parenting on steroids.

In my 37 years of teaching high school English, in public, private and parochial schools across the country, I came to two conclusions about education. 

Academically, what kids need to do well is a love and habit of reading.  No matter what school, or what part of the country I was in, it was the avid readers who were the top students.

Personally, what kids need to do well is a habit of independence.  My best students liked to choose their own books, arrange their own projects—just generally be in charge of their own learning.  These are the kids who develop a realistic sense of their abilities, and their place in the world (i.e. not the center of the world).

I don’t see anything in the description of this school that makes me think it would nurture either of these abilities.   Au contraire.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. I'd generally agree. But I do know of students, who became extremely well-educated, who were not avid readers. I'm thinking of a friend of mine who did well enough to win honors at Harvard and have a great career but who has never read for pleasure. She has dyslexia. Bottom line: any simple rule on education probably doesn't really apply to everyone.
    And technology does matter, check out my collection of it: