The New York Times editorial on education from this morning’s paper is better than one might expect, insofar as it compares the US system to other more successful countries rather than postulating that completely untried systems such as vouchers and charter schools will automatically fix things, but there’s still a persistent blindspot, as illustrated in this paragraph:
Teachers in leading nations’ schools also teach much less than ours do. High school teachers provide 1,080 hours per year of instruction in America, compared with fewer than 600 in South Korea and Japan, where the balance of teachers’ time is spent collaboratively on developing and refining lesson plans. These countries also have much stronger welfare states; by providing more support for students’ social, psychological and physical needs, they make it easier for teachers to focus on their academic needs. These elements create a virtuous cycle: strong academic performance leads to schools with greater autonomy and more public financing, which in turn makes education an attractive profession for talented people.
Emphasis added. Of course, there is literally no follow-up on the highlighted sentence. Read the rest of this entry »