Is Progressivism Derailing School Reform?
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  • Pete

    What is preventing school reform is naked self-interest.

    Every semi-parasite that is employed in the ed-industry fights to protect her own narrow self-interest at the expense of the children.

    The greatest example of this destructive behavior is the actions of the teachers unions like the NEA and AFT.

  • f1b0nacc1

    You are inaccurate describing the various members of the education-industrial complex as “semi-parasites”….
    There is nothing “semi” about them…they are parasites, plain and simple

  • Anthony

    The report comprehensive indictment on state of historic reform effort in delivering public education K-12 (both charter and regular schools). For me, there are two takeaways: 1) “Formal policy is often no match for countervailing pressures of localized incentives, institutional cultures, situational imperatives, and internalized obstacles. 2) Massive educational industrial complex of training and professional development programs, 14,000 school districts, 1,300 teacher-preparation programs, 1,100 educational-leadership programs, a web of professional associations….”

    Finally, Hess, though focused on education reform, misses applicability to 21st century disintermediation in other sectors his recommendations follow – what he discusses impact generally more than public education going forward.

  • Stacy Garvey

    I think serious reformers understand now that the ultimate goal should be a dismantling of the district school system. Charters, vouchers, online schools, homeschooling all undermine, compete and drain resources from the status quo model- that’s a good thing. Weaken the beast and provide alternatives and it will die – slowly, but it will die.

  • Bruce

    It is rarely mentioned that the word “education” is not mentioned in the Constitution. It was always intended to be a state function. The Founders obviously believed in society funding education, but not the Feds. Unions and bureaucracy ruined public schools and much of the destruction was intentional to create voters that vote a certain way. For this blog to ask if Progressivism is derailing school reform is a bit naïve. Of course it is!

  • Corlyss

    “Ironically, this progressive impulse led to the creation of the same monolithic school bureaucracies”

    Why is this ironic? What’s the one thing you know for a rock solid certainty about Progressives? That you put them in power and they want to dictate to everyone what everyone should think, do, and say. Another name for that is tyranny. Tyrannies have to be monolithic.

  • Jack Klompus

    Keep in mind that there actually are many dedicated teachers who do go to work every day and do their best to educate kids, many of whom have little if any interest in learning any barely any sense of self-discipline. A lot of communities have high quality school systems with passionate teachers and, go figure, parents that are invested in them and show it by holding their kids and their schools accountable.
    Of course there are lousy teachers like there are people who do a myriad of jobs poorly. It’s unfortunate that they’re able to hide behind the shield of unions that, rather than represent their best interests, do their best to keep the bad teachers from being held accountable.
    In a lot of schools, bad management and overpaid administrators are the cause of the rot. Large school districts have layers of bureaucrats collecting large paychecks for doing “work” whose contribution to quality education is suspect at best.

    • Montgomery Draxel

      As my wife, a high school teacher of 12 years says, “You can’t out teach bad parenting.”

      Communities with good households and parents that are engaged will always have better school systems, because of the calibre of student and level of accountability via the parents.

      Getting rid of bad teachers helps, but it won’t solve the fundamental problem: misbehaving students are taking up the lion’s share of time and effort.

  • Bruno_Behrend

    As many of the comments here indicate, “reformers” are in a pitched battle with a powerful political bureaucracy.

    Like many reformers, Hess’ mistake is the pipe dream of fixing the existing system so that it can work.

    It Isn’t desIgned to work, and the people runnIng it have no Interest In it workIng. Education in America is beyond reform. It requires “transformation” through dismantlement.

    Therefore, there should be no “negotiation” with defenders of the status quo. Their defeat should be the only goal.

    Like the USSR, today’s education establishment (Government Education Complex) in America is an imooral, malignant force in the world, and needs to be defeated.

    This is done through vouchers, charters, digital and home schooling, which are neceaary to create the infrastructure of independent learning institutions the nation needs.

  • teapartydoc

    Of all of the big lies pushed by progressives, school consolidation was one of the biggest. Not one of the promises of consolidation have come to pass. What has happened is that many of our children have turned out to be alienated, dysfunctional murderers who still can’t read.

  • Montgomery Draxel

    The poor quality of the Primary education system in America is due to the broken family in many communities. You can throw all the money you want at those schools (and we do, actually) and it isn’t going to help the feral children running rampant, if they even show up at all.

    The way to fix the education system in America is through hardcore welfare reform and social shaming of anyone having children outside of a committed relationship / marriage. In fact, we should be paying married families with no criminal record and college degrees to have children instead of the other way around.

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