When considering the best for our children, we will often consider what the experts have to say. But when do we actually put their ideas into action, especially when it comes to education?
Education scholar Rick Hess makes the case that following the experts' lead may not always be the best idea because they have too often been proven wrong by the results. Hess points to two recent examples of education policy supported by experts that have gone horribly awry.
Back in 2001, Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act, set the ambitious goal that a hundred percent of our nation's students would be leading and doing math at grade level. By 2014. Didn't work out. We didn't even come close, but along the way we actually did some real harm.
Schools got over-focused on testing; kids got caught up in drill-and-kill assignment; and parents got concerned that schools forgot a lot of what matters for kids' education.
As discussed by TPOH recently, the focus on standardized testing has caused some serious problems in our education system, where the emphasis is not on truly teaching students, but only making sure that they will reach desired test scores.
No Child Left Behind is not the only example, though. A more recent attempt to help students succeed has really had no impact in spite of the billions of dollars spent on the program.
[T]ake the Obama administration's School Improvement Grant program. Seven billion dollars later, a 2017 federal evaluation found that the program made no difference for kids in participating schools.
Each of these programs were designed by alleged education experts, but the results have been mixed at best and counterproductive at worst. Hess concludes his discussion by stating that we are right to be wary of education experts.
School expertise has a role to play, but experts only know a little bit about what actually goes on in complicated schools and among the complexities of Education Policy. That's why you do well to take advice from any of us experts with more than a few grains of salt.
The ones who best know how to solve our education issues are the ones closest to them. That means teachers, school staff, and ultimately parents, not necessarily academics.