31 October 2010

US Education Secretary on school reform

Since the Brit education establishment slavishly modelled "comprehensive" education on the US model, maybe it should notice some comments by Arne Duncan, The One's Education Secretary, as reported in the Guardian:
I just have tremendous respect for the educational work and the leadership that I've seen coming from the UK and we're all working on the same issues and have the same challenges. . . . I think one-size-fits-all is part of what hasn't worked in education, frankly. The more we can create a series of great choices, the better, and let students figure out what the best one for them is.
Duncan enthusiastically backed Michael Gove's vision of schools funded by the taxpayer but able to adopt their own teaching methods and vary the curriculum. He accused critics who said these schools would flourish at the expense of existing state schools of indulging in "phoney debates". He explained:
There are lots of different ways to get at equality of education but just perpetuating a status quo that's broken is not going to help children, not going to change their families' future, and does a grave disservice to our country. These are all public schools, these are all our children, these are our dollars and they're all accountable to us.
Who is "us", though? The sole success registered by the education bureaucracy in England over the past 30-odd years has been in defeating all attempts at reform. The news that Gove may let Grammar Schools expand and open satellite establishments simply underlines how hopeless it is to expect anything positive to emerge from the existing "comprehensive" system.

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