The problem of Big ‘R’ school reform | IN 60 SECONDS


Bueller? Bueller? American education is rife with grand policy proposals that have turned into bureaucratic fiascos, from school turnaround to the Common Core. This is Big ‘R’ reform. Big ‘R’ reform takes the hot idea of the moment, invests it with grand enthusiasm, and then tells doubters and skeptics that they better get on board or get the heck out of the way. I first saw this stuff up close a quarter century ago when I was teaching high school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At the time, the hot new reform in the state was a teacher evaluation system. The idea was laudable: Make sure teachers are doing their jobs well. The solution: a checklist with a hundred and thirty odd items that administrators dragged into classrooms. It was nonsense! Good schools are intensely human places. They are formed by thousands of good judgments on the part of teachers that they make every day. This is why grand bureaucratic fixes tend not to make a big difference for schools. This is the problem with Big ‘R’ reform, and it’s why there are better ways to give our kids schools they deserve. To learn more about my take on the problem of Big ‘R’ reform, check the links in the description below. Also, let us know what other topics you’d like AEI scholars to cover in 60 seconds.

5 thoughts on “The problem of Big ‘R’ school reform | IN 60 SECONDS”

  1. I'd like you to cover the history of the culture war between the right and left wing in America over say the last 60 years.

  2. Direct government involvement is what kills quality education, anywhere you go in the world you will find that private schools output higher quality students than their government compatriots. Government schools by default are subject to the whims of political manoeuvrings of aspiring government officials. Now before you call me some kind of poor person hating monster for not endorsing government services to the poor, I will state without dispute that education must be provided for all BUT not by the government, the government can fund it sure but the government must not be PROVIDING it. The same issues plague UK health care where government shamblings and bureaucracy drag down quality and increase costs but because there is a cult of NHS nothing can be done but spend ever more money because people are too attached to government provisions. Private hospitals funded by the government would be cheaper, shorter waiting lists, and of higher quality, as they would have to compete to retain funding and this includes competition by the quality of service.

  3. This was great, I agree the best schools are very "human" places. Please cover the fact that there are only 5 media giants controlling the media so the idea of a free press rests with who has the money to produce said press.

  4. Our new evaluation system in Texas just means more time spent on paperwork & the documentation to prove it. I'm a special education teacher so a lot of the evaluation system doesn't work for me. Whatever I just got to teach 2 more years and then I'm out so I can homeschool my children.

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