Publish and support real educators

Publishing Stephen Moore’s February 21 editorial entitled “It’s now or never for school choice everywhere” is irresponsible in today’s educational climate. Not only is Moore’s track record questionable in his own field of economics, he’s stepped far out of his lane to provide a misinformed diatribe about how to fix education in America. Moore seems oblivious to the fact that many of the “private and religious schools that have proven they know how to teach children” are very selective. Skimming off students with the best social support and the least cognitive and emotional challenges, these schools “reach nearly 100% proficiency” by tasking the public schools he criticizes with teaching only the most expensive and at-risk students. The “universal choice” programs he recommends will work only if these schools are required to admit and teach students across the socioeconomic and cognitive spectrum. (That’s what public schools do.)

Even more egregious is that although Moore does not seem to have spent a single day of his long professional career working in any school in any capacity, he feels qualified to dispense educational advice. Schools in Michigan and nationwide currently struggle to attract teachers. While pay is certainly a factor, data shows that academically talented young people are avoiding education mostly because of the low level of respect for teachers by students and communities.

Moore is right about one thing; there are big challenges in education. I encourage anyone who believes that they understand how to “fix” education to get involved in schools and participate in meeting those challenges from the front lines. (Showing up at a school board meeting with an axe to grind doesn’t count.) Many people seem to be willing to share strong opinions about how education should work. More should either dedicate serious time and effort to working in schools and reading and thinking about education, or adopt a humble appreciation for those that do.

The Gazette’s articles that showcase work by Steve Patchin and other credible educators are far more informed and constructive. More of those, and less like Moore, would be appreciated.


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