Ask any teacher who's been in the classroom for more than ten years and they will, undoubtedly, have a long list of "Yesterday's Fads" in education reform. Education seems particularly prone to this tendency to oversimplify problems in search for panaceas. A recent ACLU lawsuit highlights
the danger of oversimplifying technology's potential to provide a quick fix. The complaint asserts that a struggling Michigan student enrolled in a virtual learning class was left to use the Read 180 program on the computer, while the teacher monitored results from afar and never provided any explicit instruction.
While we think technology and many of the other current ed reform initiatives each hold significant potential in improving educational outcomes, we become very wary when anything is held up as a simple, quick fix. Oversimplification of an approach--not to mention the underlying problem-- dooms it to becoming a quick fix-fad that ultimately makes long-term solutions all the more elusive. This is especially true when the approach is not as glamorous
Does this mean we should throw the towel in on (insert your preferred ed reform solution here)? No. Not at all. It just means we need to ensure we approach any reform in a comprehensive and rounded manner.