Amid threats of a teachers union strike, Detroit public schools received depressing news this month when the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests showed that 69-percent of the city's fourth graders and 77-percent of eighth graders scored below basic proficiency levels in math. The abysmal scores — the lowest in the history of the test — had some parents arguing that educators should go to prison for failing to properly teach their kids. Do the outraged parents have a case? (Watch a Fox report about a Detroit proposal to jail bad teachers)
Send 'em to the slammer: "Someone needs to go to jail," says Detroit Parents Network CEO Sharlonda Buckman, as quoted in the Detroit Free Press. Failure to give Detroit's children a good education "is a crime perpetrated...by adults who should be held accountable." Of course, "parents must take responsibility, too." But "there's no excuse for ignoring a child's education" — no matter who does it.
"In Detroit schools, adult complacency should be criminal"
All this jail talk isn't helping anything: Threatening teachers "with jail time to keep their noses to the grindstone" doesn't seems like an constructive solution, says Glenn McNatt in the Baltimore Sun. That said, "there should be a price for failure." And that price "should be paid by the adults responsible, not the kids who become its victims."
"Detroit parents: Arrest the teachers"
Let's focus on getting better libraries: Sending teachers to jail does nothing to solve the problem, says Stephen Krashen on the National Council of Teachers of English blog. What the Detroit school system needs is "improved school libraries, staffed by certified librarians." Studies show that "access to books is strongly related" to NAEP scores.
"Don't jail teachers, improve libraries"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Four annoying sounds you need to stop making
- The best online movies to watch this weekend
- How a degree from Duke University dashed my dreams of buying a home
- This is why you can't trust the NSA. Ever.
- Half the world's population lives in these 6 countries
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Innocent before proven guilty? The bizarre bipartisan rush to clear Rick Perry
- How collaborative innovation led to the experimental serum for Ebola
- 10 things you need to know today: August 23, 2014
- Half-baked genetic research is fueling the latest round of mom bashing
Subscribe to the Week