An article from last August’s New Yorker which details the difficulty of maintaining teacher accountability in the New York Public schools. To wit, the combination of teacher’s unions, massive bureaucracies, litigiousness, and the sheer size of the NY school system has created an utterly dysfunctional system. We probably already knew that, but this piece is an interesting look at how the system fosters and coddles incompetence, as well as indicating once again how politics is governed by the law of unintended consequences.
Tellingly, the author finds hope in increased federal control of the NY schools (in no small part because the schools “are desperate for money”). Forgive me if I see the outcome of such thinking not to be the improvement of the NY schools, but rather in making the rest of the nation’s schools more like those in NYCity. It’s yet another indication how the failure of political imagination both creates problems and limits our ability to find workable solutions – ones that would emphasize smaller districts and more parental control.