'Broken schools' -- or broken debate over education?

Matthew Zalaznick's picture
Monday, February 3, 2014

If you want effectively to undermine the complicated, daily work of teachers and custodians and counselors and school traffic cops, you first need to destabilize people’s confidence in the solvency of the overall system. You basically need to create the educational equivalent of a run on the bank. People are hearing through grapevines as disparate as National Public Radio and Fox News that public schools are “broken” and in need of a superhero leader-ish leader to come in and rescue them.

So, we become susceptible to the idea that there is a kind of broad, cultural consensus that public education is failing. Polls can be made to say almost anything, but it seems that most parents with children in public schools carry in their brains, simultaneously, two divergent things. First, they basically appreciate the people who are caring for their children and think they ought to make more money and have job security. But, second, they think there is a broad consensus that public schools are “broken.”

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