Note to Michael Goldstein




Goldstein is the founder and CEO of the MATCH Commonwealth Charter
School in Boston. I wrote this note in response to his comment about my
Rothstein comment in an earlier post:
Dear Michael,
Well yes,  Kevin did say, in a lot fewer words, what I was trying to say.
well… Do you find that to be true, also, Michael, that most of what
you are thinking and perhaps finally geting around to writing, has
already been thought, said and written, and probably a good many times?
weekend I read an excellent article, from the Public Interest, from
Winter, 1966, by Christopher Jencks, Is the Public School Obsolete? ( a
question he would never phrase in that manner today, decidedly
I’ve also been reading (again) Diane Ravitch
on the history of the "public" school and on education and democracy. I
find she agrees with me (or rather I agree with her on a lot of
subjects). In particular when she says this about Dewey, OK, not new,
but it’s what I’ve always thought, and has been my problem with the man
each time I’ve sat down to read him, especially his Democracy and Education, "Dewey left problems in hls wake, caused in no small part by the obscurity of his prose."
Let me steer you to these observations by Ravitch, taken from her:  American Traditions of Schooling.
What follows is the last page or two of that essay. I agree with her
statement: "What does seem likely is that the public will not
indefinitely support schools in which children do not learn the skills
and knowledge that they require for participation in our society." How
do you read this? A radical change in the structure of our public
schooling is almost upon us? With the advent of the charter schools
some 15 years ago it did seem so. I’m less hopeful in that respect
What do you think?
Finally this weekend I learned for the
first time that Ravitch is a great admirer of Robert Hutchins, and I
was too, especially before I took a teaching job at St. Johns College
in Annapolis in 1963, a decision based in some part on what Hutchins
had said. And what was that? Well, this sort of thing:
"Perhaps the
greatest idea that America has given the world," said Hutchins, "is the
idea of education for all. The world is entitled to know whether this
idea means that everybody can be educated, or only that everybody must
go to school." At St. Johns we believed that we knew what it meant to
be an educated man or woman.
And Michael, aren’t we still grappling
with this idea of education for all? You at MATCH, and I with my
Foundation work? It seems to me that we haven’t yet convinced ourselves
that "everyone can be educated," meaning by that, benefit from the
liberal education of which Hutchins is speaking… although for a long
time now we have legislated that everyone must go to school. So the
meaning of "education for all" is still in need of clarification. How
about taking a stab at it?

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