And there are many social goals on which Americans strongly agree: that schools should prepare children for the responsibilities of citizenship as much as for success in private life; that they should encourage harmonious relations among people of different backgrounds (or at least not foment conflict); and that they should ensure that every child, regardless of background, has access to a quality education.
But does anyone seriously believe that our existing school system is doing a satisfactory job in any of these areas? ... If we are to remedy these profound shortcoming in American education, our best hope is to set aside our preconceptions about what kind of school systems should produce the social goods we seek, and instead ask which systems actually do produce them.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Education and social goods
"Certainly the way children are educated can have a powerful impact on the kind of society they go on to build," Andrew Coulson writes.