This article on Salon reminds us about one of the core issues related to academic achievement. It’s not teacher effectiveness, not curricular approach or pedagogy; it’s not the number of kids in the classroom or the size of the school. It’s economics, particularly the strongly distorted distribution of wealth.
So perhaps instead of education reform we need to be talking about economic reform. Our modern culture is based on an economic system that is fundamentally flawed. It thrives on the exploitation of people and the planet, and worships the false and illusory god of eternal material progress.
Remembering the words of the sage Aldo Leopold*, perhaps once we turn our attention to this issue, and create a just economic system that preserves and protects the integrity of the living planet, we will notice that there is much less need to have a conversation about education reform-at least for many of the reasons the conversation is convened today.
I know the situation is not as didactic as I portray it here. I do this purposely to create contrast and highlight the issue that often lays in the shadows. I hope by doing so it helps facilitate a more comprehensive conversation that we need to be having.