Published Online: June 14, 2005
Published in Print: June 15, 2005, as We’re Slow Learners of Schooling’s Complexities


We’re Slow Learners of Schooling’s Complexities

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To the Editor:

Marvin Lazerson is on target when he writes that “to believe that education is our way to salvation is to live a terrible lie” ("The Education Gospel," Commentary May 11, 2005).

Absolutely. Educators have known this, but somehow we have not managed or wanted to put this message across to the public.

The research and experience of the past several decades should have taught us all that schooling is but one part of a big, complex picture in educating children. Instead, the notion that schools and teachers are all-powerful and all-blameworthy has gained credence.

Why are we such slow learners? I believe that in part it’s been flattering to think about how powerful schools are. We have neglected to understand that the corollary to this message for the public is that if schools are that powerful, then they ought to be able to do it all. If they can’t or don’t want to, then they deserve to be blamed.

Let’s get out from under this and tell the public that although schools and teachers are important, when it comes to changing the world, even good ones are 98-pound weaklings.

Dorothy Rich
Home and School Institute
Washington, D.C.

Vol. 24, Issue 40, Page 34

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