Saturday, October 16, 2010

How to fix U.S. schools - an essay by Richard Rothstein

Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, wrote an interesting response to the manifesto by Joel Klein, chancellor of the New York City public school system, and Michelle Rhee, who resigned October 13 as Washington, D.C. chancellor, published in the Washington Post claiming that the main problem of U.S. schools was the difficulty of removing incompetent teachers (a claim in line with the recent movie "Waiting for Superman").

Rothstein's essay points out that the situation is much more complex than that and scapegoating teachers cannot be used as the single solution. Rothstein critiques the Klein-Rhee approach, and calls for a different agenda, which includes improving teacher quality but also many other equally, if not more important school and out of school initiatives. Among these are improving school leadership, curriculum, and teacher collaboration, and taking other initiatives to improve children's ability to succeed by coming to school in better health and with more adequate experiences in early childhood and in out-of-school time. The brief also warns that school leaders cannot ignore the disastrous consequences of the current economic crisis for their ability to nurture and educate our youth.

Read Rothstein's essay here

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