Stephen Downes rattled my dags with a short post earlier this month – more so because his post was shorter than the comment I left. It was really in answer to the (almost rhetorical) question:
“Why Are People So Gullible About Miracle Cures in Education?”
This was asked by Diane Ravitch who said:
She suggested that her list had only just begun.
“the schools just can't seem to shake this belief that all children will learn to the highest standards when:
- all teachers are great teachers;
- every school has a brilliant leader as principal;
- every superintendent has an M.B.A.;
- every school is run by entrepreneurs;
- every school is organized around a theme;
- every school is small;
- all schools are charters . . .”
Relevant to the first item in Diane’s list, however, I have to admit that I’ve been doing my rounds on posts about teacher bashing recently. But the further I go with this, the more I feel my comment to Stephen summarises the kernel of the problem:
I think people are gullible about miracle cures in education the same way as they were gullible about miracle cures for ill health. It's just that our research in education has lagged research in medicine tragically, and it is well known that education research is still in its infancy. Bill Gates recognises that.
As long as we have quacks who stand on their soap boxes selling their education tonic in a bottle to whoever is gullible enough to buy it, we are going to be seeing much more of this sort of thing.
There are regulations in western countries about how one can claim a cure for ill health in a bottle. There are not yet any useful regulations governing how one can claim a cure in education.