This article challenges the conventional wisdom of articles that challenge the conventional wisdom of schools. And it does an awful job.
The article doesn’t acknowledge what opponents are saying. It just launches into a bunch of loose, incomplete arguments: People now spend more time in school than people did 100 years ago, and the Constitution never put this trend in motion. It just happened on its own. Enrollment in charter and public schools is rising and college graduates still make more than their non-college counterparts. While some disadvantaged kids still get low quality education, the problem doesn’t seem to have gotten any worse in recent years. We should have to prove teacher tenure is a barrier to learning before we eliminate it.
It then says that “large-scale, decentralized democratic societies are not very adept at generating neat, rational solutions to messy situations.” That might be the fault of schools if that were true. And it is the fault of the author’s schools, because it’s not true. And it’s certainly not the reason we can’t improve schools in this country.
The article then uses bank de-regulation and Iraq nation-building as examples of why we can’t make major reforms in this country. Those aren’t related to education.
He finishes by saying that nobody has precisely said what’s wrong with our education system, or shown proven solutions. How would he know what everybody has said? He should focus on the truth about our schools rather than arguing with nobody in particular. And even if the perfect solution existed, it wouldn’t be proven in advance.
I thought these arguments were miserable.