An Educational Primer

I have colleagues who are education professors, and I want to make sure they don’t misunderstand what I will say today. I know their hearts—they are committed to doing the best for the students as they prepare to go out and teach others. They might be in the minority, however.

All too often, education degrees focus rather heavily on how to manage a classroom or on the latest trendy experiments. Now, managing a classroom is important—I know that from personal experience. But if an education degree is too heavily weighted toward the nuts and bolts of classroom technique, it can minimize the substance of what students need to learn:

Take history, for instance: it would be nice if the students actually learned some.

The education field is also all too often fascinated with every new theory, regardless of whether or not it is worthy to be emulated. The past few decades are strewn with the rubble of trendy movements that were all the rage for a while, then disappeared [fortunately]. Yet that fascination with all things “new” is hard to shake:

Real education is the victim. We’ve probably never had so many people enlisted in the struggle to educate children. So why are we suffering in achievement?

Could that be a major part of the problem? How about if we break up that monopoly and allow real competition? That sounds scary to many, but to me it makes eminent sense.