Another Key Figure Changes His Mind: Challenges the Test-and-Punish Conventional Wisdom

“We need the best and brightest teachers: The proposed ‘stronger’ law undermines collective bargaining that protects teachers from politics and favoritism and has been crucial to improvement in compensation and benefits… Unionization is not the problem. There are no unions in many of the nation’s worst educational performing states. All schools, charter or traditional, must pay competitive salaries and benefits to attract experienced, skilled teachers who can succeed with children.”

janresseger

Over half a century ago, in The Affluent Society, economist John Kenneth Galbraith coined the term “the conventional wisdom” to describe “the ideas which are esteemed at any time for their acceptability.”  “Because economic and social phenomena are so forbidding, or at least so seem… within a considerable range (the individual)…. may hold whatever view of this world he finds most agreeable…” “The conventional wisdom is not the property of any political group.… the consensus is exceedingly broad. Nothing much divides those who are liberals by common political designation from those who are conservatives.”  In other words the conventional wisdom about hard and complicated subjects in public policy is made up of what we all believe because everybody else seems to believe it.

The idea that school achievement can be fixed in our poorest communities by testing students and punishing so-called “failing” schools where test scores are low, by…

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