Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Truth Shall Set You Free

Well, after reading Nicholas Kristof, I momentarily despaired of encountering voices of reason anywhere. But lo and behold, Diane Ravitch went and wrote something that made perfect sense. Rather than simply dropping teacher certification and recruiting disgruntled employees from Kentucky Fried Chicken, Ms. Ravitch proposes the following:

First, let's figure out why so many students are unwilling to behave in the classroom and do the work that is assigned to them.
Second, let's review the laws and court decisions that make it difficult to maintain a culture of high expectations and good behavior in the schools.
Third, let's make sure that schools have a solid curriculum in science, history, the arts, literature, and math so that teachers know what they are expected to teach and are well prepared to teach it.
Fourth, let's ease up on the testing mania and put the emphasis where it belongs: on providing a great education.
I haven't got all the answers, but one reason kids don't behave in the classroom (far from the only one, of course) is a weak teacher who doesn't know how to control kids. I think opening up the classrooms to anyone who feels like walking in will draw many weak teachers (and many far, far worse teachers, actually).

I suggest Mr. Kristof, to demonstrate his sincerity, visit unlicensed doctors when he's not feeling well. He ought to hire unlicensed lawyers to handle his business affairs. I personally volunteer to serve as Mr. Kristof's accountant, as I am nothing if not totally unqualified.

An emailer suggested Mr. Kristoff take his next flight to Africa with an unlicensed pilot. I think that would show true commitment.

I only hope he advises his fellow passengers. Truth be told, not everyone is equally open to innovation.
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