September 30, 2003
Better than the rest

Friedrich Blowhard links to, quotes from and comments on a New York Times story very much like the bits of this story that I linked to last week.

Says Friedrich of another of those exceptional educational leaders who do better than the rest by being nice plus old fashioned:

Corporal punishment, while permitted by the school’s by-laws, has apparently never been necessary, possibly because of Principal Whitfield’s previous line of work as a professional football player. This former New York public school teacher also takes the time to greet every student from pre-school to 8th grade with either a hug or a formal handshake.

It kind of makes you wonder if America’s schools aren’t failing for lack of well-socialized children, but for lack of leaders who are willing to be – well, you know, adults.

Individual success stories like this are worth celebrating, but not if the implication is that nationalised education can be rescued simply by everyone just, you know, doing better. And if the government reads these stories, boils down what it reads into a set of national instructions (hire only professional sportsmen, all heads must greet, with hug or handshake, all pupils every morning, and must behave in an adult manner at all times …) then forget about it. It will just be another way to mess up the system.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 12:02 AM
Category: How to teach