Monday, July 16, 2007


Recently I've been listening to This American Life while knitting.

This episode: Two Steps Back captures perfectly the reasons I haven't fought too hard to get back into public school teaching. The school and the teachers described and interviewed in the program just about reduced me to tears, because it so closely resembles my experiences with the public school system in this country.

I firmly believe the system is broken. Some individual schools have been spared, but the federal mandates currently in place would change that.

No sane educator would take an honors student and place them in a remedial course. Why then are the educational reform programs doing just that with high-achieving schools and teachers? Yes, some students, and some teachers, need a structured program to help them rise to the expected heights. Knocking people off the top of that peak and making them climb back up at the same pace as the slower ones is pure lunacy.

And this is why I would have to think long and hard about sending a child to public school - not because of the teachers or the curriculum (though I have questions about them, too) - but because of the politics and bureaucracy that have far too much control over the whole system.


kate said...

For some reason Blogger gives me an error message when trying to follow the permalink URL to the episode in question. It can, however, be found at the other link if you just scroll down the page.

sue said...

Hate to say it, but glad my kids are all old enough to be out of school... yes, they went to public school.

kate said...

I went to public school as well, and so did Jay. Other than being horribly bored for long periods of time, I think my experience was fairly good. But then, I graduated from one of the top ranked public high schools in the country... not everyone is so lucky.

sue said...

Well, I have to admit we live in Iowa which has always had one of the better school systems in the nation... at least they used to. Guess I haven't heard lately. I still had some issues with things that happened with my kids in school, but I think that's always going to be true.

nita said...

there is a public policy masters of ed that's new at brown ... i'm totally thinking about. marriage has prepared me for the enormity of changing the public school system, methinks ;)

and i went to stowe high. awesome teachers. great curriculum. very unique, which is the biggest shame.

anyway, i miss you!