Why, in 2019, after all the money spent and all the reforms that have been instituted, are we still seeing such horrific results in our schools? The answer is much simpler than it has been made out to be: The system is broken. There is no remedy to fix this system. It is fundamentally flawed. The famous saying that you cannot fix a problem with the same mind that created it rings so true. So if reform will not work, what are we to do?
The earliest ancestor to our system of government-mandated schooling comes from 16th-century Germany. While it’s almost universally understood that the American school system is underperforming, “reform,” too, is almost universally prescribed as the solution. Yet in other walks of life, bad ideas are not reformed—they are eliminated and replaced with better ones. Our school system is rarely identified as a bad idea. The motivations at the origins were not pure; they were never to educate but to nationalize the youth in a particular mold. The system is reflexively left alone while the methods are the bad ideas that get cycled in and out: open concept schools, multiple intelligences, project-based learning,…