Published Online: January 9, 2007
Published in Print: January 10, 2007, as ‘The New, Improved Educational Machine’ Strikes a Chord


‘The New, Improved Educational Machine’ Strikes a Chord

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To the Editor:

"The New, Improved Educational Machine" (Commentary, Dec. 13, 2006) is a breath of fresh air. Peter W. Cookson Jr.’s observations are the sensible and respectful comments of someone who offers the reader (and Washington, if it is listening) a glimmer of hope in what has become a featureless landscape of testing and controlling.

The American workforce has been the envy of the world precisely because our nation’s education system has served a diverse population, using no single instructional paradigm, no single set of test results, no cut-and-dried formula for educational success.

Dean Cookson has the right idea. Let us join him in pushing back the Washington hacks who want to make political capital on the backs of our nation’s children.

America would be better served if Washington turned its attentions to leveling the socioeconomic playing field and implementing school reforms that foster the growth of free, creative minds capable of original thinking. Doing anything less is a waste of our greatest natural resource: our children.

Sylvia Blake
Associate Provost
Long Island University
Westchester Graduate Campus
Purchase, N.Y.

To the Editor:

Peter W. Cookson Jr. sends a message in his Commentary that our politicians and school leaders need to pay attention to. I have been trying to send this message for almost 50 years with some success, but it’s not enough.

Are we at last ready to understand that the “educational machine” is inside of us—in motivation and effort, perseverance, and creativity—and not outside of us in machines or even in laws? I sincerely want to believe that we are ready to come to this major understanding, and to support what it takes to improve our students’ internal educational machines.

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

Vol. 26, Issue 18, Page 32

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