“Icarus & School Reform” is the title of a piece I wrote that was just published by The Teachers College Record. It’s only available for free to members right now, but will be made accessible to the public for a week in the near future. I’ll post when that happens. Here’s the abstract:
Many efforts by self-styled “school reformers” are like a “fractured fairy tale” version of the Icarus Greek myth. Icarus escaped from prison through the ingenious use of wings made of feathers and wax — a brilliant idea. However, he ignored warnings to stay away from the sun, so the wax melted and he fell into the sea. Some school reformers seize on great ideas, but then, like Icarus, get so exhilarated by them that they, too, throw all caution to the wind. The “fractured” part in this version, though, is that it’s not them who end up suffering the consequences of their exuberance. No, it’s us teachers and our students who end up “falling into the sea” as a result. The ideas that can get warped and destructive as they are applied in the name of school reform include videotaping teachers, using student surveys, encouraging social emotional learning (SEL), and emphasizing the importance of the parent/school connection. I describe how they, instead, can be used to more effectively help students, their families, teachers, and schools.