Education reformers and I agree. Here’s my alternative. What’s theirs?

In the October 19 Huffington Post Justin Snider described how five education writers feel about the potential impact of Waiting for Superman:

Toward the end of our discussion, Errol St. Clair Smith gave the five of us — Jay Mathews, Diane Ravitch, Valerie Strauss, Debra Viadero and me — a multiple-choice test on what the lasting impact of Waiting for ‘Superman’ would be on U.S. public education. Four of us — all but Ravitch — opted for choice “D,” that the film would prove to be “another example that when all is said and done, much more will be said than done.” (Ravitch, ever the contrarian, picked “None of the above.”)

Education writers and I agree, but I believe those who tear something down should offer something to replace it. Journalists are in no position to suggest what should replace the problems they write about (low test scores, bullying, grade inflation, poor literacy, low level of STEM knowledge, etc.). They rarely go into classrooms, and they are neither teachers nor policymakers, so it is not their job to improve education, only to comment on its good parts and bad parts. What could be easier than that? Public education has plenty to cheer about and plenty to condemn.

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