Opinion
Teaching Profession Letter to the Editor

Education Is Not Scalable

May 12, 2020 1 min read

To the Editor:

I enjoyed the video of Diane Ravitch (“Diane Ravitch in Her Own Words,” Education Week Video, April 10, 2020), a historian who has modified her perspective about education through the years. I’d like to broaden her perspective yet again.

Ravitch polarizes charter schools and other public schools and advocates shifting power to teachers’ unions, whose best efforts often stand as roadblocks to teacher excellence and response to student need. For example, United Teachers Los Angeles prioritized limiting the scope of teacher work in their district during the pandemic, leaving a three-week gap in services to students. What if the doctors’ and nurses’ unions had done the same?

I have worked as a teacher and principal in the trenches of public schools, a parochial school, a distinguished charter school, and in excellent private schools. I have witnessed students thrive or fail in privileged schools. I’ve seen charter schools provide power to underserved populations. I’ve seen district school mandates impede the work of sincere teachers who champion the agenda of educating all children.

I am neither for charter nor against public schools: I am for effective public schools. It’s not really about money, as Ravitch thinks.

I have seen firsthand that education is not scalable: A large district can buy toilet paper in bulk but cannot provide sensitive responses to kids and parents. Only a system that is agile enough to recognize needs and responsive enough to seek excellence will successfully address the cultural, learning, and economic differences among kids and families to close the gap we so want to mend.

Wendy Zacuto

Literacy Specialist and Educational Consultant

Playa del Rey, Calif.

A version of this article appeared in the May 13, 2020 edition of Education Week as Education Is Not Scalable

Events

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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
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
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,

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

Teaching Profession 4 Ways Districts Are Giving Teachers More Flexibility in Their Jobs
After a year-plus of pandemic schooling, some experts are seeing momentum for district leaders to reimagine what teaching can look like.
11 min read
Teacher working at home in front of camera.
Getty
Teaching Profession Why Teachers Leave—or Don't: A Look at the Numbers
New EdWeek survey results reveal why teachers consider leaving the profession, and how the pandemic has changed their decisionmaking.
6 min read
v40 32 Teacher Retention INTRO DATA
Stephanie Shafer for Education Week<br/>
Teaching Profession We Asked Teachers How They Want to Be Appreciated. Here's What They Said
All they need is respect, independence, a break, and a heartfelt word of thanks after a difficult year.
3 min read
Image shows a teacher in a classroom.
skynesher/E+
Teaching Profession New Teaching Jobs May Emerge With Continued Demand for Virtual Learning
As school districts plan for online learning to continue beyond the pandemic, they'll need teachers to staff those virtual classrooms.
4 min read