An Insightful Essay by a Charter School Critic
Discussions about education often become polarized: us or them, conservative or liberal, rich or poor. This has been the case in the U.S. for the two centuries of American schooling (sometimes explicit, other times implicit). I have friends on both sides of the education reform debate. Both sets of friends would benefit from reading this thorough critique of Lemov’s Teach Like a Champion, a book which the critic says perpetuates inequity while intending the opposite. Here’s a clip:
In the Introduction, Lemov declares, “I am not writing this book to engage in a philosophical debate” (Lemov 2010, 9). In the second edition, Teach Like A Champion 2.0, he further emphasizes that ideology does not belong in education: “Ideology-driven guidance represents the most common form of advice teachers receive…. A teacher might be told that a classroom should be democratic, for example… but such a classroom is not assessed for whether student achievement rose but whether the teacher did what the democratizing guidance described. Assessment of the effectiveness of an ideology is usually self-reinforcing” (Lemov 2015, 6). Thus, Lemov positions himself as an objective, non-ideological observer above the fray of political debate, merely describing teaching techniques that best increase the objective measure of “student achievement.” Still, I argue that a close reading suggests that Teach Like A Champion promotes values about education that, subtle as they are, have become the philosophical foundations of major charter networks’ approach to teacher education. Teach Like A Champion promotes working-class behavioral norms through a pedagogy of order, uniformity, and obedience; similar pedagogy has been used in the past to maintain strict class and racial hierarchies and prevent the poor from challenging the powerful.
Shout out to Jory Brass for suggesting via Facebook
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