Harper’s reading- “Schoolhouse Crock”

Hi everyone,

It’s Allison. I hope you all had a great weekend! I had a busy, busy weekend and am exhausted, but I thought I’d leave a few thoughts on this article tonight, in case anyone has a chance to blog before class tomorrow.

I’m very happy that I have the opportunity to facilitate on this article. I found it to be one of the most engaging readings.  The journalist has certainly done his research, and he is a very powerful writer.

In the introduction, Schrag draws our attention to the complicated issues surrounding schools. It’s become a complicated web, and Schrag seems to think that many of the tasks that school’s engage in are not worthwhile. This leads us into one area for discussion. Do schools take on too much? Is it the job of the school to try to impact society? To say that schools need not building a strong community would be a difficult contention. Schools have become a center for strengthening the community, and to change that seems ludacris. Schrag says that “our educational workers must address countless medical, social, and family problems before they can even begin to think about teaching…” He seems to suggest that schools as a social service system creates roadblocks to education. But how can a teacher help a student who has bigger problems than writing five-paragraph essays?

Overall, Schrag seems to think that we have always had problems with the educational system and that nothing will be solved anytime soon. It’s frustrating to read the laundry list of past reforms that have failed. In the end, he suggests that schools cannot “solve every cultural and economic challenge the United States faces.” On the last page, he examines the possibility that education is not responsible for the growing gap between the rich and the rest. “Even people with professional degrees were earning less than they were in the early 1990s,” he says.  Do you agree? Is the problem larger than education? Can schools solve the “cultural and economic challenges,” or is the problem larger?

This article brought up many controversial points. I thought the above questions were good ones to start with. Was anyone else was struck by any other points?


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