chapter  1
16 Pages

Why Do We Do What We Do the Way We Do It?

Put in this context, it is, to say the least, a disconcerting revelation. That little of the national debate around education raises this point, or the question why do we do what we do the way we do it, is at the heart of the virtual failure of secondary schools to educate all but a small percentage of our students well. The present system is based on a series of assumptions that have remained relatively unquestioned for over a century. Although some of these assumptions are known to educators, they still are not questioned in a way that will bring the kind of genuine reform our schools require. Richard Schwab, the Dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Connecticut, has said his state wants “progress without change” (1999, March 14, The New York Times), and it strikes me that this is exactly the affliction we suffer from in American education.