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Thinking The Unthinkable: Unintended Consequences (Or Worse)

What if you're wrong?  

What if, like Diane Ravitch (among others), you eventually realized that you've been pursuing and espousing ideas and interventions that didn't work or -- even more horrifying -- made things worse?  

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It's OK to think about it.  No one's looking.

For reformers, the nightmare scenario might mean that schools remained wildly unequal and that teaching became (even) less professionalized than it already is.

For reform critics that might mean that schools remained wildly unequal and all the energy and extra funding of the last 20 years went away.

So stop worrying for a minute about what happens if everyone doesn't come to agree with you and worry for a minute about what might happen if your favorite policy or program became everyone's favorite, except you weren't really in charge of implementing it, or one key element was left out?  

Need some help imagining the worst? Check out Neil Steinberg's masterpiece, A Complete and Utter Failure. None of those folks thought they were going to mess things up, either.  

Comments

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Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll be sure to pick it up. I have spent my years in education (nearly 20) trying stuff and discarding what doesn't work. I've spent the last few realizing we usually end up in a better place when we don't see eye to eye. Interesting stuff. I'm very new to the blogging scene, but have started a site dedicated to professionals sharing diverse opinions. Hope you don't mind if I include the link if you are interested in seeing my first attempts. www.cuttingeducator.com
Regards,
Steve

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.