Friday, August 30, 2013

The Broken Window Approach to Ed. Reform

Forbes has a column here that suggests we put in place more negative consequences to improve educational outcomes for poorer students.  For example, he suggests that students who drop out of school be denied driver’s licenses, as one consequence that might help keep kids in school.

Mr. Crotty makes a good point, but he oversimplifies.  We don’t just need high expectations as far as civilized behavior and hard work in our schools.  We need schools that mimic the kind of enriched homes that turn kids into avid readers and thoughtful, curious students.

I taught high school English for 37 years, in public, private, and parochial schools.  I know we can’t change the home environment for many of our students, but we can create school environments that support a love of reading, and a love of learning.  With endless testing and drills and negative consequences we may win a few battles, but we will surely lose the war.

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