Friday, November 27, 2015

Brooks no argument

Olive Thomas in Alan Crosland's The Flapper (1920). Via QuirkyLadyBookworm.

So Brooks went to visit this progressive Small High School of Choice in Bensonhurst—the Expeditionary Learning School for Community Leaders—and found that it was a nice place. He didn't go so far as to say it radiated, but he did say it glowed.

So that's nice. I really don't have the heart to work this one over, other than to point out the school's success involved working closely on its innovations with the teachers' union (Brooks: "the single biggest impediment to school reform"), beefing up its funding with philanthropy from sources like the Gates Foundation (Brooks: "The problem is not lack of attention, and it’s not mainly lack of money.... American public spending on schools is high by global standards,"), and working to eliminate high-stakes testing as an issue, by turning as much as possible to performance-based assessment for the students and non-quantitative evaluation methods for the teachers (Brooks: "Ravitch thinks the solution is to get rid of the tests. But that way just leads to lethargy and perpetual mediocrity. The real answer is to keep the tests and the accountability but make sure every school has a clear sense of mission").

In short, succeeding by disregarding all Brooks's advice on education.

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