Letter to the NYT editor regarding 'School Reforms Fail to Lift U.S. on Global Test'

I taught through various eras of so-called education reform. Very early in my career, as a beginning New York City teacher, I received an award to spend the summer studying special methods for teaching children of poverty at Princeton University. Children were bused in from Trenton.

Over the years, upstate New York schools where I taught received lots of special federal funds: We bought art to hang in our school, bought machines to give children extra phonics drills, bought tons of textbooks, sent teachers off to be drilled on intensive phonics, hired experts to fly in with their PowerPoints, and on and on.

How long will we continue to beat a dead horse? When will we help families directly, ensuring that all children live in families with adequate minimum income and adequate housing?

Education reform has enriched many people. It’s time to start reform where it’s needed, directing the riches to children.

I’d start education reform tomorrow by giving all children a voucher for 10 free books of their choice. And I’d work at making sure the children have homes where they can take those books.

Susan Ohanian

Charlotte, Vt.

[Substance editor's note: The New York Times' Sunday Review published Susan's Dec. 21, 2019, letter regarding "School Reforms Fail to Lift U.S. on Global Test" first in its section on school reform. See the section here.


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