Lesson Learning Essay

Lesson Learning Essay-80
Now, at this point, there are those who will sigh, “Of course those reforms didn’t work! They’ve all been part of an ideological crusade to undermine democratic schooling and privatize public education.” They’ll argue that two decades of school reform, from No Child Left Behind to Race to the Top, was never really intended to be about improving schools.

Now, at this point, there are those who will sigh, “Of course those reforms didn’t work! They’ve all been part of an ideological crusade to undermine democratic schooling and privatize public education.” They’ll argue that two decades of school reform, from No Child Left Behind to Race to the Top, was never really intended to be about improving schools.

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In schooling, it’s most likely to work as intended when it comes to straightforward directives—like mandating testing or the length of a school year.

Policy tends to stumble when it comes to more complex questions—when they’re done.

When all this doesn’t work out as hoped, there’s a tendency for those responsible to insist that the policy is sound and any issues are just “implementation problems.” I’ll put this bluntly: there’s no such thing as an implementation problem.

It took a while, but I eventually learned that what matters in schooling is what actually happens to 50 million kids in 100,000 schools. Calling something an implementation problem is a fancy way to avoid saying that we didn’t realize how a new policy would really work.

t’s been three decades since I started substitute teaching for beer money in Waltham, Massachusetts, back in the 1980s.

It’s been a quarter century since I stopped teaching high school social studies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.And, in the spirit of full disclosure, I say all this as someone who, for many long years, has been labeled a school reformer.Now, a few reformers will deny that reform has disappointed.And, when it comes to improving schools, doing things well is pretty much the whole ball game.As a policy wonk with a Ph D in political science, this realization pained me to no end. I still think policy has an important role to play.So, she also wants to require that mentors meet weekly with their charges and document that they’ve addressed 11 key topics in each session.But this still can’t ensure that mentors will treat their duties as more than box-checking, so she wants to require…You see the problem. Far too often, in fact, policy unfolds like a children’s game of telephone. C., federal officials have a clear vision of what they think a change in guidance on Title I spending should mean.But when officials in 50 states read that new guidance, they don’t all understand it the same way.Those officials have to explain it to thousands of district Title I coordinators, who then provide direction to school leaders and teachers.Reformers, for instance, have attempted time and again to devise policies that would “turn around” low-performing schools.There was the 1990s-era Comprehensive School Reform Program, the interventions mandated by No Child Left Behind, and the Obama administration’s billion School Improvement Grants program.

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