Table of Contents
Clashing Views on Educational Issues, Eighteenth Edition
Unit: Basic Theoretical Issues
- Issue: Should Schooling Be Based on Social Experiences?
YES: John Dewey, from Experience and Education (Macmillan, 1938)
NO: Roger Scruton, from Schools and Schooling, The American Spectator (June 2006)
Philosopher John Dewey suggests a reconsideration of traditional approaches to schooling, giving fuller attention to the social development of the learner and the quality of his or her total experience. British philosopher Roger Scruton expresses the traditionalist view that Deweys progressive education, with its emphasis on child-centeredness and relevance, has had a disastrous effect on quality education.
- Issue: Should the Curriculum Be Standardized for All?
YES: Mortimer J. Adler, from The Paideia Proposal: Rediscovering the Essence of Education, American School Board Journal (July 1982)
NO: John Holt, from Escape from Childhood (E. P. Dutton, 1974)
Philosopher Mortimer J. Adler contends that democracy is best served by a public school system that establishes uniform curricular objectives for all students. Educator John Holt argues that an imposed curriculum damages the individual and usurps a basic human right to select ones own path of development.
- Issue: Should Behaviorism Shape Educational Practices?
YES: Carson M. Bennett, from A Skinnerian View of Human Freedom, The Humanist (July/August 1990)
NO: Laura Zucca-Scott, from Know Thyself: The Importance of Humanism in Education, International Education (2010)
Professor of educational psychology Carson M. Bennett presents the case for adopting the radical behaviorism of B. F. Skinner to improve the power and efficiency of the process of learning. Laura Zucca-Scott, Professor of Education at Blackburn College, stresses the importance of humanism in todays educational practices.
- Issue: Is Constructivism the Best Philosophy of Education?
YES: David Elkind, from The Problem with Constructivism, The Educational Forum (Summer 2004)
NO: Jamin Carson, from Objectivism and Education: A Response to David Elkinds The Problem with Constructivism, The Educational Forum (Spring 2005)
Child Development Professor David Elkind contends that the philosophical positions found in constructivism, though often difficult to apply, are necessary elements in a meaningful reform of educational practices. Jamin Carson, an Assistant Professor of Education and former high school teacher, offers a close critique of constructivism and argues that the philosophy of objectivism is a more realistic and usable basis for the process of education.
- Issue: Should Public Schooling Be Redefined?
YES: Frederick M. Hess, from What Is a Public School? Principles for a New Century, Phi Delta Kappan (February 2004)
NO: Linda Nathan, Joe Nathan, Ray Bacchetti, and Evans Clinchy, from A Response to Frederick Hess, Phi Delta Kappan (February 2004)
Frederick M. Hess, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, advocates a broadening of the definition of public schooling in light of recent developments such as vouchers, charter schools, and home schooling. Linda Nathan, Joe Nathan, Ray Bacchetti, and Evans Clinchy express a variety of concerns about the conceptual expansion that Hess proposes.
Unit: Current Fundamental Issues
- Issue: Are Truly Democratic Classrooms Possible?
YES: Kristan A. Morrison, from Democratic Classrooms: Promises and Challenges of Student Voice and Choice, Part One, Educational Horizons (Fall 2008)
NO: Gary K. Clabaugh, from Second Thoughts about Democratic Classrooms, Educational Horizons (Fall 2008)
Associate Professor of Education Kristan A. Morrison explores historical and theoretical bases for implementing democratic practices in schools that would make student experience more appealing and productive. Professor of Education Gary K. Clabaugh examines such factors as top-down management, compulsory attendance, business world influences, and federal mandates to declare Morrisons ideas to be out of touch with reality.
- Issue: Do Public Schools Have Grounds to Punish Students for Their Off-Campus Online Speech?
YES: Theodore A. McKee, from Layshock v. Hermitage School District, United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals (June 13, 2011)
NO: Theodore A. McKee, from J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District, United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals (June 13, 2011)
In Layshock v. Hermitage School District, Third Circuit Court judges approved a local Pennsylvania school officials 10-day suspension of a high school student who mocked his principal with a fake MySpace profile that he accessed off-campus. On the same day and in the same circuit court as Layshock v Hermitage School District, a different set of judges ruled in J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District that local Pennsylvania school officials overreacted and breached the First Amendment Rights of a junior high school student who ridiculed her principal online using MySpace with a computer that was accessed off-campus. Chief Judge Theodore McKee wrote the courts opinion for both cases. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear either of these social media cases.
- Issue: Do American Schools Need a Common Curriculum?
YES: The Albert Shanker Institute, from A Call for Common Content, American Educator (Spring 2011)
NO: Jay P. Greene, Sandra Stotsky, Bill Evers, Greg Forster, and Zeev Wurman, from Closing the Door on Innovation, Education Next (May 9, 2011)
The Albert Shanker Institute, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers, promotes a common curriculum to build a bridge from standards to achievement across the nation. A coalition of opponents, led by Jay P. Greene, Sandra Stotsky, Bill Evers, Greg Forster, and Zeev Wurman, offers a critical response to what they see as an effort to nationalize public education.
- Issue: Can the Common Core State Standards Be Successful?
YES: William H. Schmidt and Nathan A. Burroughs, from How the Common Core Boosts Quality and Equality, Educational Leadership (December 2012/January 2013)
NO: Tom Loveless, from The Common Core Initiative: What Are the Chances of Success? Educational Leadership (December 2012/January 2013)
With a focus on the new math standards, Michigan State University researchers William Schmidt and Nathan Burroughs indicate the Common Core State Standards will address two tenacious problems in U.S. education: the mediocrity quality of mathematics learning and unequal opportunity in U.S. schools. Tom Loveless, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, takes the position that chances for the Common Core Standards to be successful are slim at best when compared to the claims on how well similar policies have worked in the past.
- Issue: Can Failing Schools Be Turned Around?
YES: Karin Chenoweth, from It Can Be Done, Its Being Done, and Heres How, Phi Delta Kappan (September 2009)
NO: Andy Smarick, from The Turnaround Fallacy, Education Next (Winter 2010)
Karin Chenoweth, a senior writer with the Education Trust and author of How Its Being Done, describes strategies employed to bring about dramatic improvements in low-performing schools. Andy Smarick, a visiting fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, advocates the closing of failing schools to make room for replacements through chartering.
- Issue: Are Local School Boards Obsolete?
YES: Marc Tucker, from Changing the System Is the Only Solution, Phi Delta Kappan (March 2010)
NO: Diane Ravitch, from Why Public Schools Need Democratic Governance, Phi Delta Kappan (March 2010)
Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, calls for shifting the running of public schools to the states, allowing local boards to focus solely on the improvement of learning. Education historian Diane Ravitch feels that a movement of control to the state level or to the mayors office will undermine democratic deliberation and move toward a top-down business model.
Unit: Current Specific Issues
- Issue: Is There Support for Arming Teachers in Schools?
YES: Nirvi Shah, from Teachers Already Armed in Some Districts, Education Week (February 20, 2013)
NO: National School Safety and Security Services, from Arming Teachers and School Staff with Guns: Implementation Issues Present School Boards and Administrators with Significant Responsibility and Potential Liability (August 15, 2013), retrieved from: www.schoolsecurity.org/trends/arming_teachers.html
Nivri Shah examines arming teachers in schools shortly, after the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, noting the one Texas district superintendent concluded that school personnel are the first responders. Led by President Kenneth Trump, the National School Safety and Security Services assert that teachers want to be armed with textbooks and computers, not guns.
- Issue: Has the Time Arrived for Universal Preschool?
YES: David L. Kirp, from The Kids-First Agenda, in Big Ideas for Children: Investing in Our Nations Future (First Focus, 2008)
NO: Douglas J. Besharov and Douglas M. Call, from The New Kindergarten, The Wilson Quarterly (Autumn 2008)
David L. Kirp, a Professor of Public Policy and Author of The Sandbox Investment, calls for expansion of federal support for universal preschool and other child care services. Professor Douglas J. Besharov and Research Associate Douglas M. Call of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy examine the development of child care programs and conclude that the case for universal preschool is not as strong as it seems.
- Issue: Is the Inclusive Classroom Model Workable?
YES: Mara Sapon-Shevin, from Learning in an Inclusive Community, Educational Leadership (September 2008)
NO: Wade A. Carpenter, from The Other Side of Inclusion, Educational Horizons (Spring 2008)
Professor of inclusive education Mara Sapon-Shevin presents a redefinition of the inclusive classroom and offers specific strategies for bringing it about in practice. Associate professor of education Wade A. Carpenter expresses concerns about the inclusive ideologys uncritical infatuation with socialization.
- Issue: Do Teachers Unions Stymie School Reform?
YES: Andrew Coulson, from A Less Perfect Union, The American Spectator (June 2011)
NO: Louis Malfaro, from Lessons on Organizing for Power, American Educator (Fall 2010)
Andrew Coulson, director of the Center for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute, contends that the NEA and AFT monopolize public school operations, resulting in a collapse of productivity. Louis Malfaro, an AFT vice president, sees the teachers unions as uniquely able to build productive relationships and exert positive influence on the improvement of teaching and learning.
- Issue: Should Teacher Preparation and Licensing Be Regulated by the Government?
YES: James Cibulka, from Strengthen State Oversight of Teacher Preparation, Education Next (Fall 2013)
NO: David Chard, from Training Must Focus on Content and Pedagogy, Education Next (Fall 2013)
Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation President Jim Cibulka states that tightening government licensure regulation is needed to assure candidate and program quality that can result in a more favorable learning environment for Pre-K12 students. David Chard indicates that current state control of teacher preparation and licensing does not ensure that teachers will be of high quality.
- Issue: Can Zero Tolerance Violate Students Rights?
YES: Hon. David Souter, from Majority Opinion in Safford Unified School District #1 v. Redding (June 25, 2009)
NO: Hon. Clarence Thomas, from Dissenting Opinion in Safford Unified School District #1 v. Redding (June 25, 2009)
Supreme Court justice David Souter, delivering the opinion of the Court, hold that school officials, in carrying out a zero-tolerance policy on drug possession, violated a students Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure when they included a strip search of the girl. Justice Clarence Thomas, in dissent, states that the majority opinion imposes too vague a standard on school officials and that it grants judges sweeping authority to second-guess measures those officials take to maintain discipline and ensure safety.
- Issue: Do American Students Need More Time in School?
YES: Chris Gabrieli, from More Time, More Learning, Educational Leadership (April 2010)
NO: Larry Cuban, from The Perennial Reform: Fixing School Time, Phi Delta Kappan (December 2008)
National Center on Time and Learning Chairman Chris Gabrieli claims that current school time schedules are outmoded and calls for expansion of the instructional day and year to close the achievement gap and provide enrichment opportunities. Stanford University Professor Emeritus Larry Cuban reviews the history of school time expansion and finds scant research to support such demands.
- Issue: Is the Road to Virtual Schooling Smoothly Paved?
YES: William Crossman, from From the Three Rs to the Four Cs, The Futurist (MarchApril 2012)
NO: Erin Dillon and Bill Tucker, from Lessons for Online Learning, Education Next (Spring 2011)
Futurist Philosopher William Crossman depicts the inevitable movement from brick-and-mortar schools to a flexible learning environment dominated by digital multi-sensory media. Erin Dillon and Bill Tucker of Education Sector wave caution flags because of the current lack of data on the efficacy of K-12 online learning and the need for independent quality control.
- Issue: Is the 21st Century Skills Movement Viable?
YES: Andrew J. Rotherham and Daniel T. Willingham, from 21st Century Skills: The Challenges Ahead, Educational Leadership (September 2009)
NO: Diana Senechal, from The Most Daring Education Reform of All, American Educator (Spring 2010)
Education Policy Expert Rotherham and psychology professor Willingham see great promise in the movement to bring needed skills to all students if the delivery system works satisfactorily. Education Writer and Former Teacher Diana Senechal expresses deep concern about the movements focus on current societal needs to the detriment of core academic studies.