Education is a vast sea of lies, waste, corruption, crackpot theorizing, and careerist logrolling. [We Are Doomed, p. 132.]I don't think I've ever written a truer sentence. Nowadays I read news stories and Op-Eds about education just for amusement.
This one from the January 9th New York Times Sunday Review, for example. Title: "How to Fix the Country’s Failing Schools. And How Not To."
The article describes the different trajectories of two neighboring school systems in New Jersey, those of Union City and Newark.
A quarter-century ago, Newark and nearby Union City epitomized the failure of American urban school systems. Students, mostly poor minority and immigrant children, were performing abysmally. Graduation rates were low. Plagued by corruption and cronyism, both districts had a revolving door of superintendents. New Jersey officials threatened to take over Union City’s schools in 1989 but gave them a one-year reprieve instead. Six years later, state education officials, decrying the gross mismanagement of the Newark schools, seized control there.At that point I stopped reading and went to city-data.com to look up the demographics.
. . . . .
Today Union City, which opted for homegrown gradualism, is regarded as a poster child for good urban education. Newark, despite huge infusions of money and outside talent, has struggled by comparison. In 2014, Union City’s graduation rate was 81 percent, exceeding the national average; Newark’s was 69 percent.
What explains this difference? [How to Fix the Country’s Failing Schools. And How Not To by David L. Kirp; New York Times, January 9th 2016.