The Teachers' Muddle

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0m 54sec

Everyone seems to want to get in a whack at the public schools for causing America's problems. A few years ago they were blamed for the competitive weaknesses of the economy--though we haven't heard many people giving them credit for its strong performance since! Lately they have been condemned for their failure to prevent violence, though young people are far safer in school than on the streets.

Not all of the criticisms of American public education are as mindless as these. Thoughtful commentators such as E. D. Hirsch, Jr. and William Kirk Kilpatrick have shown how poorly many schools meet the need of impoverished children. These commentators have also rightly criticized many schools for failing to guide children of all social classes toward a coherent sense of right and wrong. Addressing these and other ills of public education will require reforms more radical than any tried so far. It will also mean rethinking some of our most basic practices, and none is more badly in need of reconsideration than the preparation of teachers.

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About the Author

Charles L. Glenn is professor and chairman of administration, teaching, and policy studies at Boston University.

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