Education Opinion

Cheating Our Kids

September 30, 2005 1 min read

Williams, an education reporter for the New York Daily News, has written an effective, if old-fashioned, exposé on the failings of public school systems nationwide. His targets, while familiar, still deserve to be targets. Among his villains are central bureaucracies that virtually compel New York City teachers to take time off to process paperwork; federal politicians who’ve created such boondoggles as the E-rate program, which has enriched corporations while proving to be generally ineffective; and teachers’ unions, which in San Diego protested reform-minded Jewish superintendent Alan Bersin with signs comparing him to Hitler.

All of these villains, the reader will notice, are institutional entities rather than individuals, which is exactly Williams’ point. The system itself, as he sees it, is the enemy, and it’s so amorphous and unaccountable that no one really knows how to take it on.

For this reason, Williams’ proposed solution to the problem—that activist parents fight the system and demand change—seems a stretch. While he cites some putative successes, like a school choice program in Milwaukee that was largely driven by angry inner city parents, such examples are few and far between. Some parents, it’s true, know how to play the system, but they are generally savvy middle-class individuals dealing with smaller districts. Fighting the power is surely a much tougher proposition for disenfranchised parents in big cities who are struggling just to make ends meet.

—David Ruenzel

A version of this article appeared in the October 01, 2005 edition of Teacher as Cheating Our Kids


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read