Thursday, April 24, 2008

Reforming the Wrong Things

George Will convincingly writes that increased federal spending on education and the creation of an endless array of new education programs fail to provide any meaningful results because they do not address the real social pathologies that exist outside the walls of the schools. Mr. Will writes:

In 1964, SAT scores among college-bound students peaked. In 1965, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) codified confidence in the correlation between financial inputs and cognitive outputs in education. But in 1966, the Coleman report, the result of the largest social science project in history, reached a conclusion so "seismic" -- Moynihan's description -- that the government almost refused to publish it.

Released quietly on the Fourth of July weekend, the report concluded that the qualities of the families from which children come to school matter much more than money as predictors of schools' effectiveness. The crucial common denominator of problems of race and class -- fractured families -- would have to be faced.

But it wasn't. Instead, shopworn panaceas -- larger teacher salaries, smaller class sizes -- were pursued as colleges were reduced to offering remediation to freshmen.

There's much more here worth reading. Find it here.

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