Sunday, October 08, 2006

Education Myths

Swamp Fox Insights points to this great essay entitled Education Myths by Jay Green.

Allow me to paraphrase.

1. The money myth: Throwing money at schools alone does not improve educational outcomes.

2. The teacher pay myth: Teacher's salaries are competitive when compared with people with similar skills and qualifications. High-performing graduates aren't taking up teaching because there isn't enough incentive for strong performance or longer hours.

3. The myth of insurmountable problems: Don't blame social problems, reform schools.

4. The class size myth: The benefits of reducing class size aren't worth the expense.

5. The certification myth: Reward teacher's performance instead of certifications and "paper" degree's.

6. The rich-school myth: Private school's perform better than public schools, despite the average private school tuition being less than that of the public schools average dollars per pupil.

7. The myth of ineffective school vouchers: School vouchers really do cause public schools to improve.

While I agree with many of the author's points, I am not sure I agree with all of his conclusions.

One of the problems with many school reformers (of which I consider myself) is a tendency to come across as advocating "vouchers" and competition as the end all solution to improving our countries education system.

One of the arguments that reformers always use, is how our students perform internationally. Yet, there seems to be almost no effort to emulate the best practice's of some of the high performing nations.


Anonymous said...

You have hit a nail on the head when you speak about not emmulating other high ranking countries. I, myself, wonder at why we aren't looking more closely at the education systems in other countries as a way to approach school reform. We seem to be bent on doing it ourselves (with little to show for it) or ignoring the issues. While researching for a paper, I recently read that Japanese teachers spend almost twice as much time in a classroom, but not all of it is spent in front of students, much of it is spent in looking at lessons and seeing what works and what doesn't work to determine what needs to happen next. Yet, this trend is nowhere in US schools.