Rainbow Fart Theories Fail


Apologists for government schools, when confronted with the long history of government failure, often respond along these lines:

I agree. Government schools have been bad here, there, and everywhere. They are bad today, they have been bad for a hundred years. But if we could only find the right recipe, perhaps using rainbows collected from unicorn farts, we could finally do it right and deliver on all those broken promises.

Larry Cuban has been a teacher, administrator, and researcher for decades. He’s very pro-government schooling. Yet, he wrote “The notion of institutions adopting reforms in order to maintain stability—sometimes called “dynamic conservatism”—captures how U.S. public schools, especially in big cities have embraced new policies (e.g., charter schools, Common Core standards, new technologies) signaling stakeholders that schools are, indeed, changing. Yet those districts and schools have left untouched essential structures that make U.S. schools the way they are (and have been…

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