The silver bullet for education reform

There’s a reason there’s no front runner in the education reform debate.

Look at some of initiatives that have existed: Teach for America. KIPP. Kahn Academy. STEM-focused schools. Every initiative has their champions and detractors. Each has elements that can be shown to be extremely effective for at least one group of students.

No system – and I mean none – can statistically prove that it is an effective solution for every student sub-group. There’s a reason no system can accomplish the Herculean task of reforming education in this country; we are looking for a single system to effectively educate every student, every type of learner.

Doesn’t this seem ludicrous?

Name a system or institution in this country that has been able to effectively serve such disparate communities as those we ask our public school systems to serve.

So when we look at education reform, should we be looking at a classically American approach to solving problems: the silver bullet? Maybe education reform is going to be far more difficult that we wish, that we have to look at larger cultural shifts. Maybe it’s time to do something that at this time in our country’s history is going to be very difficult to accomplish: cooperate.

What if we were able to combine multiple methods: federal and local, public and private, Teach for America, KIPP, Kahn, and more?

Am I delusional in this thought? Absolutely. But how else are we going to accomplish what everyone agrees is the goal of public education in America: providing opportunity for every student? From what the statistics have proved so far, there’s yet to be a single solution that works for everyone, but combined, we may get closer to meeting that goal.

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