(New proposals for NCLB will not fix it)

I always enjoy reading Daniel Willingham–the cognitive scientist from University of Virginia. Loyal readers will see earlier blogs about his work (e.g., about the fact that ‘learning styles’ may not exist at all!)

It’s great to see in print what I’ve always believed–that is, most teachers are good enough. Some great; some should leave the field, but most are capable of doing the job. Firing teachers may not improve education.

The issue is–what is the job we expect of them? Closing gaps? And who is responsible for getting it done? I don’t believe student achievement should be placed on the backs of teachers. It is a shared responsibility–starting with the student him or herself, the parents, the teachers, the principals, the superintendents, the community, etc.

Willingham opines that the new NCLB proposals are long on WHAT we want to achieve (close gaps in challenging schools) but short on HOW we should do that. In my view, expand the responsiblity to where it belongs, starting with the student, the parents, etc… Then, we may really get somewhere –higher learning standards, not a race to the bottom.

About Miriam

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA—an expert in public education, focused on special education law— is a lawyer, author, speaker, consultant, and reformer. For more than 35 years, Miriam worked with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to translate complex legalese into plain English and focus on good practices for children. Now, she focuses her passion on reforming special education, with her new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law. Presentations include those at the AASA Conference, Orange County (CA), Boston College (MA), CADRE (OR), and the Fordham Institute (DC). Her writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Education Next, Hoover Digest, The University of Chicago Law Review on line, DianeRavitch.net, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

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