What’s Missing From Education Reform in America?

Shadows of the Past

Dear Edutopia,

I’m glad learning about the student-centered redesign changed this teacher’s life. But quite frankly, I think she and the rest of you at Edutopia should get out of your shallow and sentimental little classrooms to start addressing the dystopia in which we now live. The country would be a whole lot better off today if back in the seventies we hadn’t adopted what they’re selling this teacher. Oh, our classrooms were colorful, full of music, and so much fun. It was the era of the open classroom. And yes, like this teacher, we had collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. But what those children didn’t get was sustained skill development and the strength of character required to solve life’s real problems and moral dilemmas. It was the children who grew up in the open classroom who, despite all their little projects and dialogues on “Silent Spring,” ignored climate change. It’s the children who grew up in the open classroom that became our consumer society. I get what this teacher is saying, and I understand I’m overgeneralizing here. But really now—on the day after they turned education over to a woman who wants to abolish public education, the foundation of any democratic society, shouldn’t you be inspiring public school teachers to just say NO?