Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Making Sense

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Making Sense

Article excerpt

SOMETIMES WHEN I finish reading about the latest idea designed to make our schools better, I want to say, "We ought to get us some of that there re-form, Pappy!" Then, because I'm usually alone when I'm reading, I have to slap myself in the head with my own hat!

If you're a fan of the Coen brothers, I'm sure you recognize the allusion to Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?--one of my all-time favorite movies and the source of dozens of apt phrases that can be used to comment on contemporary life. Part of the joke in the brief exchange I'm borrowing, of course, is that the "re-form candidate" doesn't really stand for fundamental change that will help the people of Mississippi. He just wants his chance to be in charge, and a victory for that kind of "re-form" won't put the status quo at much risk. The Soggy Bottom Boys are more likely to change Pappy O'Daniel.

Two articles in this issue, written from different angles, examining different levels of schooling, and aiming to achieve different ends, call into question whether we can just keep on "getting us some of that re-form" over and over again. The one most clearly related to "re-form" as educators know it is "The Bermuda Triangle of American Education," Stan Pogrow's take on our tendency to lurch from idea to idea about how to improve schooling. And when the newest ideas don't work, we lurch right back. Of course, that's not a new insight. Every decade or so we get another chance to try for some fundamental "re-form."

The other article is Herb Childress' "A Subtractive Education," in which he follows a circuitous path of reflection from a yen for Ben & Jerry's frozen yogurt, to our expectations about what young people should learn in high school, to how we see a successful adulthood. Except for the yogurt, the path isn't hard to follow. After all, high school is something of a cultural common denominator. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.