Posted at With a Brooklyn Accent:
Jim Horn's new book, "Work Hard, Be Hard: Journeys Through 'No Excuses' Teaching," should be required reading in every school district in the nation. Horn provides a devastating portrait of how what is essentially a Sweatshop model of schooling for children of color attracted huge support from philanthropists-many of whose own companies profited from Sweatshop labor--along with elected officials in both parties. That a model that depends so heavily on intimidation and behavior modification, for teachers as well as students, has become a model, not only for charter schools, but public schools, reflects a society where the prerogatives of great wealth have overpowered humanity, common sense and our best understanding of child development.
Those who romanticize this "results driven" model need to come to grips not only with Horn's portrait of what it means to teach and learn in such a school, but his analysis of the antecedents of this model in post civil war industrial education. That we as a society have invested so heavily in institutionalized educational abuse for the children of the poor is damning enough; that we now want to spread it to all public school children suggest what a grim future is in store for most of our population if current economic trends continue!
Every school board, superintendent, and principal who extol the "No Excuses" model or promotes a pedagogy that sees test results as the sole criteria of achievement and learning a should be required to read this book. We are heading down a path that is crushing joy and creativity among more and more of our young people, and driving the best teachers out of the profession.