Last evening, January 2nd, my favorite journalist/talk show host once again demonstrated how his IQ can drop in half when the subject being discussed is education. Rich guy, and probably well-meaning, philanthropist Geoffrey Canada saluted the Bloomberg/Klein cabal, touted merit pay, bashed teacher unions, demanded a longer school day, pretended that the multi-billion dollar disaster of American standardized tests compared our kids to foreign students, supported KIPP Academy and even went so far as to cite the Houston public schools under Rod Paige’s leadership despite the documented evidence that the “Houston Miracle” that spawned NCLB was a complete fraud for which only the whistleblower was punished. Mr. Canada also took umbrage with the phony baloney issue of “social promotion” and wishes NCLB were fully-funded.
Canada kept repeating that the reason poor kids are in failing schools is because of politics, Yet, all of his political theories are faith-based free-market schemes with no record of success anywhere and not a single example of actual classroom practice – in other words HIS pitch is 100% political.
I LOVE Charlie Rose. I rarely miss a program. I used to watch his 2-6 AM show, CBS Nightwatch, in the 1980s. There is no better interviewer on science, the arts, culture or politics than Mr. Rose. However, on the rare occasion he covers education, his guests are always conservative drill and kill proponents. The conservatives want vouchers, more testing and longer school days. The liberals want merit pay, more testing and longer school days.
The only guests I’ve seen on Charlie Rose in recent years have been Chancellor Klein the founder of Teach-for-America and Geoffrey Canada. For some reason the ordinarily remarkable journalist, Rose, completely suspends his disbelief and allows his platform to be used to promote dopey educational theories that are ruining the lives of children.
Perhaps Mr. Rose does not know that other voices exist in public education or that there are successful urban schools where the students are treated as his Upper East Side friends expect their children to be educated.
I offer a partial list of guests who can share their expertise and present a different vision of education for future television programs:
Dennis Littky & Elliot Washor
John Taylor Gatto
Ted Hamory & Stephanie Lee
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Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.