Education has a unique condition: schools and school reform are rife with people passionate about their work. This can lead to impatience, a distaste for caution, and even hubris.

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After all, contemporary school reform attracts people eager to make the world a better place in a hurry. They see education as an engine for doing just that. I get it. But that very passion to drive big change tends to make working in a single school system or community seem limited and lacking. The result is that reformers would rather make change in a system than in a school, a state than in a system, and Washington than in a state. And, once they’ve won a new policy on teacher evaluation or accountability, these reformers are ready to move on—to early childhood or free college, or criminal justice or immigration reform.

The result is an inclination—among advocates, policymakers, and pundits alike—to tackle the next cause at the expense of follow-through on the last one.

The well-meaning desire to go big, fast happens to fit neatly with the instincts of those who wield money and power. Grant officers at major foundations feel pressed to show that their grantees will make a visible difference in the next two or three years.

All this well-intentioned bustle has real costs. It has led to one-size-fits-all dictates that don’t actually fit some schools or classrooms. It has bred a tone-deafness that alienates many parents and angers educators. It has eroded trust in the people who actually do the work. It has led us to put undue faith in sweeping policy solutions, fueling backlash and frustration. It has weaponized research, undermining our ability to talk frankly about how uncertain and context-dependent most school reforms really are. It has elevated the cult of expertise, at the cost of our respect for careful execution and good judgment.

Read the source article at Education Next

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