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Berliner Belabors the Obvious

Posted By: Roy Warner on August 19, 2005
Berliner’s article seems like the poster child for belaboring the obvious. He goes to great lengths to document that the USA has a significant number of impoverished children; that the amount of time these children spend in school is far too little, regardless of quality, to counterbalance the content and quality of learning they obtain outside of school; and that children perform better when they become less impoverished. DUH. I don’t know of anyone in public education who disbelieves or denies those observations. Berliner then goes to on to claim (without providing any hard evidence) that most of us have hitched our wagons to the wrong school reform star because of “our collective views about the proper and improper roles of government in ameliorating the problems that confront us in our schools; our beliefs about the ways in which a market economy is supposed to work; our concerns about what constitutes appropriate tax rates for the nation; our religious views about the elect and the damned; our peculiar American ethos of individualism; and our almost absurd belief that schooling is the cure for whatever ails society.” I question whether a truly collective view of any one of these ideas exists. Certainly, Berliner does not tell us what the collective view is in each case, nor provide any evidence to document that such a view exists. Nor does he offer any theories (never mind detailed strategies) for reducing the number of impoverished children. And unless he is remarkably ignorant of the history of the USA, he knows very well that poverty has been a targeted evil in this country for most of its existence. Quit whining, David. We know that better fed, healthier children who grow up in a functional society with a clean environment will do better in school. Tell us specifically how to accomplish that. We don’t need more people wringing their hands; we need more people putting their hands to work to fix the problem
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 Berliner Belabors the Obvious by Roy Warner on August 19, 2005
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