We'll try to hide our grin as we note the end of Michael Winerip's education columns in the New York Times. Over the past four years, he somehow managed to travel the country reporting about K-12 education and never deviate from his initial, illogical perceptions (see here). And so it is in his final piece, where the Defender of All Things Status Quo offers suggestions for "improving" NCLB when its reauthorization rolls around next year. As expected, his claims are standard fare: reduce class sizes ("a moral issue"), stop blaming teachers when their students can't read, etc. Winerip refuses to budge from his belief that the country's K-12 education system shouldn't be held accountable. Instead, he calls for teachers to be "trusted." (Does he feel the same about stockbrokers or corporations or everyone else in our society, or are educators a special class?) He manages to forget that, before standards-based reform began in a serious way in 1989, teachers were pretty much allowed to monitor their own progress. They didn't produce inspiring results, especially for poor and minority students. Public education exists to serve the citizenry, and it is to the citizenry that it must ultimately answer. As for Mr. Winerip, perhaps the Times will now deploy him to report on auto sales.
"Teachers, and a law that distrusts them," by Michael Winerip, New York Times, July 12, 2006