Why I don't believe in "reform"
By: Marc Waxman
September 7th, 2010
Marc Waxman has been an educator for 17 years, including 12 in New York City, and the last two in Denver.
I don’t believe. I wish I could believe. I am supposed to believe. But, I don’t. I don’t believe in education “reform” in our country.
I don’t believe charter schools are a panacea, I don’t believe that linking student achievement to teacher evaluation will significantly impact education, and for that matter, I don’t believe student achievement” should be the ultimate goal of education in our country.
I am supposed to believe in all this, especially if you look at my resume and follow the major media discussion of education “reform.” Let me explain.
When I graduated from college in 1994 I joined Teach For America. I taught two years in Paterson, NJ (made famous by Joe “Batman” Clark from Eastside High School – which was just across the street from the 1,000-student K-8 school where I taught. After my two years of TFA service I became one of the first teachers and administrators at KIPP in the South Bronx. After three years at KIPP, I spent the next nine years co-founding and co-directing a new school in Harlem which started as a school-within-a school, was part of a take-over of a failing school that was closed, became an official New York City public school, and then converted to become one of only five conversion charter schools in NYC.
What avail is it to win prescribed amounts of information… if in the process an individual loses his own soul: loses his appreciation of things worth while, of the values to which these things are relative; if he loses desire to apply what he has learned and, above all, loses the ability to extract meaning from his future experiences as they occur?