Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The "Grammar of Schooling" Persists, by Angela Valenzuela

In my Educational Foundations in Policy class yesterday, we discussed Tyack, D. B. & Cuban, L. “Why the Grammar of Schooling Persists” Tinkering Toward Utopia.   It meshed well in my lecture with this piece from NPR that takes a critical look at New Orleans' charters schools titled, "The End of Neighborhood Schools:  New Orleans is home to the nation’s first all-charter district. Is this the future of education?" You can read it for yourself, but in a city that has undergone a major restructuring of education with only 10 percent being public and the other 90 being private or charter—and mostly charter—the grammar of schooling persists.

Tyack and Cuban narrate a history of American public education as it evolved from a simple to complex, bureaucratic structures, from local to cosmopolitan, parochial to universal, and the like and what we're left with is a stubborn grammar that scarcely changes despite decades of "tinkering" with public education.  

So here is the Wordl that I generated using that my class of 14 students, broken up into groups, generated on the "grammar of schooling" from their readings. These were their takeaways, with the larger letters representing the concepts that best represented the Tyack and Cuban reading.  We are delving deeper into all of this too, as well, via Tyack's seminal book, The One Best System: A History of American Urban Public Education. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).

Take note of what is NOT here as major concepts that as we know, float around, in education.  These include creativity, curiosity, critical thinking, social justice, equity and the like.  You'll have your own thoughts and observations on this, as well. 

This approach to this reading worked for us, by the way, as it provided us with much food for thought.  Hope you find this helpful.

Angela Valenzuela

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