Monday, November 1, 2010

Alfie Kohn: Reform is Just The Same Old Thing on Steroids

This piece by Alfie Kohn makes a good case that the current wave of ed reform, portrayed as new and innovative, is really just an intensification of the status quo. While I would agree with this assessment, Kohn completely disregards the greed that drives the reform movement, the lust for access to school cafeteria concessions, test and text book contracts, EMOs and for-profit charter schools. He implies that ed reform occurs “far from the domain of Goldman Sachs. . .” which is not true. Hedge fund bosses and Wall Street bankers are funding much of the charter movement.
I know that many classrooms are still run as they were 50 years ago, with worksheets, lectures and passive students. However, Kohn portrays this as ubiquitous, which I think is an exaggeration and an insult to those of us who strive to create student centered classrooms. He is correct, though, that the reform movement encourages the passive receptacle model and stifles the most innovative teaching.

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