National Writing Project

Questioning Efficiency and Education

Publication: Santa Cruz Sentinel
Date: March 28, 2011

Summary: Don Rothman, former director of the Central California Writing Project, decries the factory model of education and suggests that students must grapple with complexity in order to learn.


Excerpt from Article

The imagination, usually not an example of efficiency, is also vital. In a factory model of education, efficiency is revered. The messy nature of some learning is avoided when everything must be quantified for the bean counters, as you sort of point out.

What happens to ambiguity, imagery, emotion, the aesthetic, metaphorical, imaginative etc. when in our reverence for efficiency we jettison those dimensions of our experience and exile them from the curriculum? Teachers must be brave enough to resist these pressures, and smart enough to generate support for their resistance.

What is a teacher? A complex combination of servant and master; tool of society and provocateur of change; preserver of tradition and igniter of innovation; spokesperson for continuity and guide for conscientious transformation.

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Read Andy Shapiro, It Takes a Village: From the Mailbag in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

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