Schools and success
EDITOR: “Our high schools are a disaster”: This title on Saturday’s op-ed page stopped me as I was eating breakfast. I have worked in high schools my entire life, and I think I have a good perspective on them. Other words besides disaster come to mind: underfunded, under siege, understaffed and under-appreciated all surfaced. So I was prompted to read why Lawrence Steinberg had declared American high schools a disaster.
Steinberg trots out many of the same old myths. He claims that “our high school students score well below the international average,” and “over the past 40 years high school haven’t made any progress at all in reading and math.” Space prevents me from detailing how invalid these charges are. However, a quick glance at Diane Ravitch’s latest book, “Rein of Error,” easily skewers them. Scores earned by our high school students have not declined, and in many cases have risen. Serious critics of our schools must also consider the role that childhood poverty plays in test results. Steinberg does not.
Steinberg’s article is overly broad and irresponsible in its claims. I challenge him to visit the school where I work to gain insight into the reality of high school. Like our students, I am certain that he will learn a great deal by attending.