‘How school reform became the cause célèbre of billionaires’

Washington Post
March 19th, 2013 by 

In the Washington Post blog “The Answer Sheet,” Jack Schneider, assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross, examined the recent phenomenon of high profile philanthropists becoming involved in education reform.

Noting that education reform was once a thankless task for community organizers, Schneider remarked that, “deep-pocketed donors have [now] brought unprecedented resources to the table and, with those resources, extraordinary public attention.” However, while such recourses are obviously beneficial, Schneider cautioned that celebrity donors such as Bill Gates have, in turn, “stigmatized state and district leadership.”

Continuing his argument, Schneider asserted that with the rise of the entrepreneurship, the free market and globalization, education reform has become commandeered by elites who seek to replicate their own education experiences via what they consider common sense, which then causes them to miss the mark when it comes to systematic change. “Each time they make the case for a new reform, they blast public school leaders, disrespect what teachers know about classroom…and frame our schools as failures,” he said. “[T]hat’s arrogance.”

This ‘Holy Cross in the News’ item by David Cotrone ’13.

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