2003 September 14 Sunday
So-Called Progressives Take Over NYC Schools

Sol Stern of the City Journal is understandably upset that New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has appointed a leftist ideologue named Diana Lam to run New York City schools as head of the newly created Department of Education.

During the summer recess, almost all of the system's principals and thousands of teachers were coerced or bribed into seminars for some more brainwashing. In these sessions (run by professors at progressive-education bastions such as Columbia University's Teachers College), it was made clear that every single literacy and math class in the city must hew to the same topics and utilize the exact same teaching methods.

Phonics and other common sense approaches to teaching are being tossed out unceremoniously.

Existing literacy programs stressing phonics that were previously working well in low performing schools (such as "Success for All") were dumped by Lam without so much as a hearing. The new preferred curriculum and methodology are being imposed across the board; principals and teachers will raise objections at their professional peril.

It is sad to see someone given the authority to basically run a big school system into the ground by using all the bad ideas that regularly come out of university education departments. But if the frauds that staff the nation's academic education departments make New York City's school system even worse than it already is then is this a bad thing in the bigger scheme of things? It is certainly bad for the kids attending public schools in New York City. But this will have some small positive benefits by, for instance, driving more parents to send their children to private schools. The bigger upside is that the left-liberal elite in New York City will have front-row seats to the consequences of the intellectual bankruptcy of what passes for the discipline of education in modern day American academe. It is possible they might figure out just how stupid "progressive" education really is. Though it seems more likely they will just claim that the problem is insufficient funding and that there needs to be even greater ideological indoctrination of the teachers. If the lefties in New York City don't clue in (and their failure to learn seems the more likely outcome given past experience) then at least New York City's school system will serve as an example to the rest the nation of why professional educators can not be trusted with something as important as the education of youth.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 September 14 12:49 PM  Civilizations Decay

Jake said at September 14, 2003 4:52 PM:

With this appointment, New York bureaucrats are going to lose control of their school system. The children will fail the “No Child Left Behind” standardized tests and the federal government will step in and put in needed reforms.

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