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Education—It’s Complicated

In the News | January 26, 2017

In “Education – It’s Complicated,” which appeared today in the Huffington Post, MƒA President John Ewing does a deep dive into the similarities between politics and education reform. In today’s political climate, he advises that, like in politics, one shouldn’t take shortcuts when looking for solutions to education’s more complicated problems:

“That education’s problems are complex, long-standing, and systemic, and therefore unlikely to yield to simple solutions, is dismissed as defeatist. So is the observation that these apparently simple ‘solutions’ frequently have unforeseen (and disastrous) consequences elsewhere in the system. As in politics, humility is interpreted as weakness in education reform.”

Dr. Ewing touches on test scores, standards, charter schools, and even education research to demonstrate how the tendency to simplify has unfortunately become the norm in both the educational and political landscape. And what can we learn from all this?

“When it comes to improving education, there are no magic bullets, no simple solutions, even bad ideas contain some wisdom. The big problems of education are messy, with uncertain answers to ambiguous questions. 

The lesson from all this is straight-forward: Stop boasting, stop tweeting, stop trying to make everything simple. Work together to find solutions. Practice humility—a strength, not a weakness. In education, unlike in politics, recognizing that things are complicated is crucial to finding solutions that are real.

Come to think of it, that’s not such a bad idea in politics too.”

Read the full column on the Huffington Post.