"It is easier to replace than reform"
One of my current favorite writers on K-12 education is Jay Greene, who today posted an provocative piece; “Fix Schools by Not Fixing Schools.” While the title may be at first perplexing, the thrust of his argument meshes with Peters' theorem of it being easier to replace than reform.
For Greene, we must first understand the forces defending the Status Quo:
The main reason we should stop focusing on fixing traditional public schools is that, for the most part, they don’t want to be fixed. The people who make their living off of those schools have reasons for wanting schools to be as they are and have enormous political resources to fend off efforts to fundamentally change things. Trying to impose reforms...is largely a futile exercise.
Greene's solution is to embrace diversity by the process of creating alternatives:
We can fix schools...by going around them. We can expand access to other educational options, including charter schools, voucher schools, tax-credit schools. ESAs, digital schooling, home-schooling, and hybrid schools. Reformers should concentrate their energy on all of these non-traditional-school efforts and stop trying so hard to fix traditional public schools.
Like water, we should be seeking the path of least resistance. After decades of encountering entrenched interests willing to go to war to defend an ossified system, let us take our energies to work around them, to offer true alternatives, and to empower parents to decide which ones work best for their children