This Fifteenth Edition of TAKING SIDES: EDUCATIONAL ISSUES presents current controversial issues in a debate-style format designed to stimulate student interest and develop critical thinking skills. Each issue is thoughtfully framed with an issue summary, an issue introduction, and a postscript. An instructors manual with testing material is available for each volume. USING TAKING SIDES IN THE CLASSROOM, ISBN 0073343900 is also an excellent instructor resource with practical suggestions on incorporating this effective approach in the classroom. Each TAKING SIDES reader features an annotated listing of selected World Wide Web sites and is supported by our student website, www.mhcls.com/online.
UNIT 1 BASIC THEORETICAL ISSUES
Issue 1. Should Schooling Be Based on Social Experiences?
YES: John Dewey, from Experience and Education (Macmillan, 1938)
NO: Robert M. Hutchins, from The Conflict in Education in a Democratic Society (Harper and Row, 1953)
Philosopher John Dewey suggests a reconsideration of traditional approaches to schooling, giving fuller attention to the social development of the learner and the quality of his or her total experience. Robert M. Hutchins, noted educator and one-time chancellor of the University of Chicago, argues for a liberal arts education geared to the development of intellectual powers. Issue 2. Should the Curriculum Be Standardized for All?
YES: Mortimer J. Adler, from “The Paideia Proposal: Rediscovering the Essence of Education,” American School Board Journal (July 1982)
NO: John Holt, from Escape from Childhood (E. P. Dutton, 1974)
Philosopher Mortimer J. Adler contends that democracy is best served by a public school system that establishes uniform curricular objectives for all students. Educator John Holt argues that an imposed curriculum damages the individual and usurps a basic human right to select ones own path of development. Issue 3. Should Behaviorism Shape Educational Practices?
YES: B. F. Skinner, from Beyond Freedom and Dignity (Alfred A. Knopf, 1971)
NO: Carl R. Rogers, from Freedom to Learn for the Eighties (Merrill 1983)
B. F. Skinner, an influential proponent of behaviorism and professor of psychology, critiques the concept of “inner freedom” and links learning and motivation to the influence of external forces. Professor of psychology and psychiatry Carl R. Rogers offers the “humanistic” alternative to behaviorism, insisting on the reality of subjective forces in human motivation. Issue 4. Is Constructivism the Best Philosophy of Education?
YES: David Elkind, from “The Problem with Constructivism,” The Educational Forum (Summer 2004)
NO: Jamin Carson, from “Objectivism and Education: A Response to David Elkinds ‘The Problem with Constructivism,” The Educational Forum (Spring 2005)
Child development professor David Elkind contends that the philosophical positions found in constructivism, though often difficult to apply, are necessary elements in a meaningful reform of educational practices. Jamin Carson, an assistant professor of education and former high school teacher, offers a close critique of constructivism and argues that the philosophy of objectivism is a more realistic and usable basis for the process of education. Issue 5. Should Global Competition Steer School Reform?
YES: Marc Tucker, from “Charting a New Course for Schools,” Educational Leadership (April 2007)
NO: Herb Childress, from “A Subtractive Education,” Phi Delta Kappan (October 2006)
Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, summarizes the work of the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce on which he served as vice chairman. Herb Childress, director of liberal studies at the Boston Architectural College, argues for a completely different approach to improvement of our efforts to educate. UNIT 2 CURRENT FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES
Issue 6. Can the Public Schools Produce Good Citizens?
YES: Stephen Macedo, from “Crafting Good Citizens,” Education Next (Spring 2004)
NO: Chester E. Finn, Jr., from “Faulty Engineering,” Education Next (Spring 2004)
Princeton politics professor Stephen Macedo expresses confidence in the public schools ability to teach students to become active participants in our democracy, suggesting that naysayers may wish to undermine all public institutions. Thomas B. Fordham Foundation president Chester E. Finn, Jr. contends that the diversity of the American population makes the public schools ill-equipped to produce the engaged citizens our democracy requires. Issue 7. Has Resegregation Diminished the Impact of Brown?
YES: Gary Orfield, Erica D. Frankenberg, and Chungmei Lee, from “The Resurgence of School Segregation,” Educational Leadership (December 2002/January 2003)
NO: William G. Wraga, from “The Heightened Significance of Brown v. Board of Education in Our Time,” Phi Delta Kappan (February 2006)
Harvard professor Gary Orfield and his research associates present evidence that school resegregation has been increasing almost everywhere in recent years, placing a cloud over the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the Brown decision. Education professor William G. Wraga offers a different perspective, concentrating on the fundamental democratic ideals bolstered by Brown that are in need of further attention. Issue 8. Can Federal Initiatives Rescue Failing Schools?
YES: Andrew Rotherham, from “A New Partnership,” Education Next (Spring 2002)
NO: Paul D. Houston, from “The Seven Deadly Sins of No Child Left Behind,” Phi Delta Kappan (June 2007)
Education policy expert Andrew Rotherham argues that new federally imposed accountability standards will enhance opportunity and overhaul failing schools. Paul D. Houston, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, offers a totally new agenda to replace the current federal legislation. Issue 9. Do High-Stakes Assessments Improve Learning?
YES: Nina Hurwitz and Sol Hurwitz, from “Tests That Count”, American School Board Journal (January 2000)
NO: Ken Jones, from “A Balanced School Accountability Model: An Alternative to High-Stakes Testing,” Phi Delta Kappan (April 2004)
High school teacher Nina Hurwitz and education consultant Sol Hurwitz assemble evidence from states that are leading the movement to set high standards of educational performance and cautiously conclude that it could stimulate long-overdue renewal. Teacher education director Ken Jones believes that much more than test scores must be used to develop an approach to school accountability that effectively blends federal, state, and local agencies and powers. Issue 10. Should “Public Schooling” Be Redefined?
YES: Frederick M. Hess, from “What Is a ”Public School? Principles for A New Century,” Phi Delta Kappan (February 2004)
NO: Linda Nathan, Joe Nathan, Ray Bacchetti, and Evans Clinchy, from “A Response to Frederick Hess,” Phi Delta Kappan (February 2004)
Frederick M. Hess, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, advocates a broadening of the definition of “public schooling” in light of recent developments such as vouchers, charter schools, and home schooling. Linda Nathan, Joe Nathan, Ray Bacchetti, and Evans Clinchy express a variety of concerns about the conceptual expansion Hess proposes. UNIT 3 CURRENT SPECIFIC ISSUES
Issue 11. Has the Supreme Court Reconfigured American Education?
YES: Charles L. Glenn, from “Fanatical Secularism,” Education Next (Winter 2003)
NO: Paul E. Peterson, from “Victory for Vouchers?” Commentary (September 2002)
Professor of education Charles L. Glenn argues that the Supreme Courts decision in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris is an immediate antidote to the publics schools secularist philosophy. Professor of government Paul E. Peterson, while welcoming the decision, contends that the barricades against widespread use of vouchers in religious schools will postpone any lasting effects. Issue 12. Do Charter Schools Merit Public Support?
YES: Joe Williams, from “Games Charter Opponents Play,” Education Next (Winter 2007)
NO: Marc F. Bernstein, from “Why Im Wary of Charter Schools,” The School Administrator (August 1999)
Journalist Joe Williams, a senior fellow with Education Sector, reviews the development of the charter school movement and finds multiple unwarranted bureaucratic impediments to its acceptance. School superintendent Marc F. Bernstein sees increasing racial and social class segregation, church-state issues, and financial harm as outgrowths of the movement. Issue 13. Is Privatization the Hope of the Future?
YES: Chris Whittle, from “Dramatic Growth Is Possible,” Education Next (Spring 2006)
NO: Henry Levin, from “Déjà Vu: All Over Again?” Education Next (Spring 2006)
Chris Whittle, founder and CEO of Edison Schools, contends that public school systems still operate in an eighteenth-century mindset and offers an “independent learning” model as a replacement. Professor of economics and education Henry Levin criticizes the assumptions on which Whittle bases his prediction of successful operation of schools by for-profit management organizations such as Edison. Issue 14. Is Full Inclusion of Disabled Students Desirable?
YES: Richard A. Villa and Jacqueline S. Thousand, from “Making Inclusive Education Work,” Educational Leadership (October 2003)
NO: Karen Agne, from “The Dismantling of the Great American Public School,” Educational Horizons (Spring 1998)
Education consultant Richard A. Villa and education professor Jacqueline S. Thousand review the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and suggest strategies for fulfilling its intentions. Education professor Karen Agne argues that legislation to include students with all sorts of disabilities has had mostly negative effects and contributes to the exodus from public schools. Issue 15. Can Current High School Reform Curtail Dropouts?
YES: Thomas Toch, Craig D. Jerald, and Erin Dillon, from “SurpriseHigh School Reform Is Working,” Phi Delta Kappan (February 2007)
NO: Robert Epstein, from “Why High School Must Go: An Interview with Leon Botstein,” Phi Delta Kappan (May 2007)
Thomas Toch, Craig D. Jerald, and Erin Dillon, think-tank researchers at Education Sector, review recent efforts at high school reform by the Gates Foundation, the National Governors Association, and other groups, identifying many signs of progress. Scholar, author, and editor Robert Epstein, interviewing college president Leon Botstein, explores the abolition of high school as it now exists. Issue 16. Is “Intelligent Design” a Threat to the Curriculum?
YES: Mark Terry, from “One Nation, Under theDesigner,” Phi Delta Kappan (December 2004)
NO: Dan Peterson, from “The Little Engine That Could … Undo Darwinism,” The American Spectator (June 2005) Biology teacher and science department administrator Mark Terry warns of the so-called Wedge Strategy being employed by the Discovery Institute to incorporate the “intelligent design” approach into the public school science curriculum. Attorney Dan Peterson presents fact-based arguments that separate “intelligent design” from previous campaigns for inclusion of “creation science” in the biology curriculum and cause evolution theorists to possibly adjust their standard positions. Issue 17. Is There a Crisis in the Education of Boys?
YES: Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, from “With Boys and Girls in Mind,” Educational Leadership (November 2004)
NO: Sara Mead, from “The Truth About Boys and Girls,” An Education Sector Report (June 2006)
Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, researchers in gender differences and brain-based learning at the Gurian Institute, contend that our schools, structurally and functionally, do not fulfill gender-specific needs and that this is particularly harmful to boys. Sara Mead, a senior policy analyst at Education Sector in Washington, D.C., assembles long-term data from the federally sponsored National Assessment of Educational Progress to show that the “crisis” emphasis is unwarranted and detracts from broader social justice issues. Issue 18. Should Homework Be Abolished?
YES: Etta Kralovec and John Buell, from “End Homework Now,” Educational Leadership (April 2001)
NO: David Skinner, from “The Homework Wars,” The Public Interest (Winter 2004)
Learning specialist Etta Kralovec and journalist John Buell attack the assignment of homework as a pedagogical practice, claiming that it disrupts family life and punishes the poor. Editor David Skinner negatively reacts to Kralovec and Buells book, The End of Homework, citing research to undermine their position. Issue 19. Do Computers Negatively Affect Student Growth?
YES: Lowell Monke, from “The Human Touch,” Education Next (Fall 2004)
NO: Frederick M. Hess, from “Technical Difficulties,” Education Next (Fall 2004)
Lowell Monke, an assistant professor of education, expresses deep concerns that the uncritical faith in computer technology in schools has led to sacrifices in intellectual growth and creativity. Frederick M. Hess, while sharing some of Monkes observations, believes that the tools of technology, used appropriately, can support innovation and reinvention in education. Issue 20. Should Alternative Teacher Training Be Encouraged?
YES: Robert Holland, from “How to Build A Better Teacher,” Policy Review (April and May 2001)
NO: Linda Darling-Hammond, from “How Teacher Education Matters,” Journal of Teacher Education (May/June 2000)
Public policy researcher Robert Holland argues that current certification programs are inadequate, especially given the growing shortage of teachers. Education professor Linda Darling-Hammond offers evidence of failure among alternative programs and responds to criticism of standard professional preparation. Issue 21. Can Merit Pay Accelerate School Improvement?
YES: Steve Malanga, from “Why Merit Pay Will Improve Teaching,” City Journal (Summer 2001)
NO: Al Ramirez, from “How Merit Pay Undermines Education,” Educational Leadership (February 2001)
Steven Malanga, a senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute, draws on examples from the corporate world and from public school systems in Cincinnati, Iowa, and Denver to make his case for performance-based merit pay for teachers. Associate professor of education Al Ramirez contends that merit pay programs misconstrue human motivation and devalue the work of teachers.