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Heartland’s Marc Oestreich did well laying out the argument that blindly chanting “performance pay” for teachers is not going to solve the many problems of America’s public education system. And I’m being a bit unfair in this post, because Marc has many great ideas to reform our schools. He was simply pulling out a single argument for debate. Fair enough.
But I’m a “big picture” guy, who is inclined — when it comes to American public education — to lean on the “blow it all up” side of the reform arguments.
That’s why I was so struck by Kevin D. Williamson’s great polemic post on NRO’s The Corner on Sunday. Kevin cited an op-ed in The Washington Post signed by more than a dozen education leaders in this country about how to make it better. And I couldn’t agree more with Kevin. These “inside” guys and gals are too “inside” to see the root of the problem.
I highly recommend reading all of Kevin’s post, which picks apart the failures of the decades-long public education regime, but here’s the money quote:
You’ve only had 40 years of public-school decline to figure that out. What else did you learn at Harvard?
Everybody who signed this op-ed needs to hear it: You are the problem. Everybody who acts like we can tinker with the state monopoly on education and get radically better results is working to ensure that our present system survives to inflict its dysfunctional results on another generation of Americans who cannot afford its failures.
True. And while the public education system needs to be blown up and started again, it will not happen. America’s children — and our nation — will be poorer for it, alas.