Leadership Symposium Early Bird Deadline Approaching | Join K-12 leaders nationwide for three days of empowering strategies, networking, and inspiration! Discounted pricing ends March 1. Register today.
Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Potter on Reform? Give Me a Break

December 06, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

In response to Arthur E. Levine’s satire on Harry Potter (“No Wizard Left Behind,”Commentary, Nov. 9, 2005.):

The Harry Potter books are not curriculum, nor are they meant to guide school reform. Give me a break.

Mr. Levine misinterprets and misuses the books to issue a series of outrageous comments. What he does admirably is to discount the lessons that the Harry Potter books provide to this veteran educator (37-plus years). Specifically, Mr. Levine ignores any mention of the following positive aspects of schooling portrayed in the books:

• Hogwarts serves a diverse group of students.

• The curriculum is varied and demanding, and the short- and long-term expectations are clear to students, especially the upper-year students.

• The students are divided into groups, or houses, which serve to break the school down into manageable subgroups led by advisers who encourage competition. The advisers also help students craft yearly coursework schedules.

• Classroom time includes lectures, many hands-on experiments, and various other strategies designed to engage the students. Teachers consistently check for comprehension.

• The school library appears to be extensive, accessible, and full of students doing their assignments.

• Harry, Hermione, and Ron are a study group (there are others). They push and help each other and take their homework seriously. Hermione’s class notes are the envy of the school.

These three have also broken the “school system” code. They know how the school is managed and structured. They also realize the strengths and weaknesses of the teachers and administrators. In short, they know what to expect and what is expected of them. They know they are in school.

• The teachers are a varied lot, vis-à-vis content knowledge and the pedagogy they use. But I wouldn’t consider any of them to be a total loser. Off the wall, perhaps.

Readers who appreciate what J.K. Rowling has created would never consider burdening her with the need to issue prescriptions on how to fix America’s many failing schools. I invite Mr. Levine to start anew with the first Harry Potter book and draw lessons from all of them for his own work. It might help keep him from falling behind.

Gil Narro Garcia

Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
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.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: February 7, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 31, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: January 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education In Their Own Words The Stories That Stuck With Us, 2023 Edition
Our newsroom selected five stories as among the highlights of our work. Here's why.
4 min read
102523 IMSE Reading BS
Adria Malcolm for Education Week