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David McGavock

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice - 2 views

  • Beginning in the mid-1970s, the decline of U.S. workplace productivity, rising unemployment, losses in market share to Japan and Germany, and swift technological changes led corporate and civic leaders to locate reasons for poor economic performance. Within a few years, these policy elites “educationalized” the problem by pointing to low SAT test scores and high school graduates unprepared for the workplace. Schools got blamed for U.S. slipping competitiveness.
    • David McGavock
      School Failure or Social Failure. Interesting that people identify a problem (poor economic performance) and assign a cause (school failure).
  • Missing in all of the talk and mandates aimed at improving teacher quality are the traditional moral obligations of teaching the young be they preschoolers or graduate students….
  • Intellectual attentiveness means concentrating on what students know, feel, and think about the content and skills to be learned–the technical side of teaching–but then go on to deepen their understanding of the world and their capacity to continue learning.
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  • Moral attentiveness means to concentrate on helping students grow as persons in grace and sensitivity, becoming more rather than less thoughtful about ideas, becoming more rather than less respectful of others’ views, and becoming more rather than less responsible for reducing social injustice. Questions of what is fair, right, and just arise constantly in classrooms; students learn moral sensibilities from how their teachers answer those questions….
  • If a professor, for example, only calls on the brightest, most verbal students in the class, snipes at students’ answers that call into question the professor’s statements, and provides few comments on students’ written work, students learn about fairness, independent inquiry, and the moral character of their professor.
  • In teaching we display our views of knowledge and learning, we advertise our ideas, how we reason, and how we struggle with moral choices whether we intend to or not.
  • Technical competence, as important as it is in teaching, is insufficient to make a whole teacher or a complete student
  • approach life and the classroom with humility.
  • what troubles me is the cramped image of teaching that has emerged from these reforms. The constricted picture is one where the teacher is a technically competent supplier of information and skills. It is an incomplete image of teaching.
    control turning around failing schools? Hardly. Michael Bloomberg and Joel Klein continue to run the New York City schools. Boston and Chicago mayors will still have their appointees overseeing schools. Business and civic leaders' faith that mayoral control is the key to "real" reform may be tarnished somewhat by D.C., Detroit, and Baltimore but it continues to entrance venture fund entrepreneurs and policy wonks inside the Beltway. Other mayors will learn from Fenty's loss that voters can turn on you if you fail to heed your community and give your
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