A recent NY Times book review (of Steven Brill’s Class Warfare) discusses the author’s claim that “truly effective teaching… can overcome student indifference, parental disengagement and poverty” – because these things have been shown to act against student achievement in conventional schools. Making the case that “good teachers” can overcome these would be a good argument for having more of these quality teachers as well as pointing to a possible solution other than the more complicated solution of fixing those things in our culture that leads to these kinds of things in the first place.
All very interesting, but completely beside the point. What the author, Brill, is looking at is test scores as a measure of student achievement and how “effective teaching” can overcome some of the very obstacles that many teachers argue stand in their way of making progress. What Brill is missing is the fact that (i) it’s not effective teaching that will solve these problems, it’s a NEW APPROACH to education, and (ii) test scores don’t measure “learning”.
Simply getting better test results in a “content delivery system” model is a low goal, and one that truly lacks an understanding of what an education is supposed to do for a person. A new approach, a new paradigm, that fully recasts what education is and how it takes place is what can address ALL of the kinds of issues that Brill raises. The results are in and it’s demonstrable that a better fundamental approach can correct for all of the factors that Brill identifies. AND, it doesn’t require parents to become super-parents.
Have a look at the results that have been logged at the East Dallas Community School. They adopted a new education paradigm – not some window dressing new reading program, not longer school days, not more technology – they simply sis one thing: throw away the conventional content delivery model and adopt one that actually works on all levels… they became a Montessori school.