Recently, I was listening to a podcast with renown astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield. During the podcast Chris said, “There is no problem so bad that you can’t make it worse.” I was immediately struck by the quote. Could we doing just this in education?
It has been documented over and over again that we have problems in education(and it has been documented that we do not have problems). There are achievement gaps, poverty gaps, technology gaps, and even teaching gaps. Some of these gaps get wider, some deeper and all are noticed.
We have also seen countless ideas on how to fix our problems. There are schools that are closed, monitored, given more money, more resources, less money, less resources…. there are increased emphasis on assessments, data, and student out put. We have countless studies informing teachers why they should use whole group instruction, direct instruction, small group instruction, leveled instruction, one -to-one and we debate class sizes, use of technology, co-teaching, departmentalization, integration, private, charter, public, magnet…. not to mention common core, national standards, local standards…. The lists, the contradictions, the hyperbole’s go on and on and on…
Are we making the problem better or worse?