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Beware Of The “Noah’s Ark” View Of Schools


In light of the ongoing attacks on public education — most recently the new movie “Waiting For Superman,” which paints teachers unions as the villains and charter schools as the saviors — it was nice to read a voice of reason in The New Yorker today. It’s written by Nicholas Lemann.

Here’s an excerpt:

The story line on education, at this ill-tempered moment in American life, expresses what might be called the Noah’s Ark view of life: a vast territory looks so impossibly corrupted that it must be washed away, so that we can begin its activities anew, on finer, higher, firmer principles. One should treat any perception that something so large is so completely awry with suspicion, and consider that it might not be true—especially before acting on it.

We have a lot of recent experience with breaking apart large, old, unlovely systems in the confidence of gaining great benefits at low cost. We deregulated the banking system. We tried to remake Iraq. In education, we would do well to appreciate what our country has built, and to try to fix what is undeniably wrong without declaring the entire system to be broken.

The short article is worth reading….

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.


  1. Thanks for the link to the article. That’s an excellent way to think about what’s happening in public ed right now.

  2. Hi, Larry!

    Thank you for sharing the link to Lemann’s article.

    I think America’s RTT is worth mentioning. I read an article written by Danny Yadron last August 4th about it, and he says the RTT is changing the US education system. It was just an incentive program proposed by the Secretary Duncan, but people were not ready for its impact.

    Let’s just wait and see how the Department of Education’s RTT can twist and manipulate – oops, reform – America’s education system.

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