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Education

#TeachingInNC: 'The politicians who control state government have changed, but the politics haven't'

Terry Stoops is the Director of Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation
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Contributions to the superb #TeachingInNC project are, to quote baseball great Yogi Berra, déjà vu all over again.

The names of classroom activities are different, but children today are engaged in tasks that have cycled in and out of public school classrooms for decades. 

Whether it is group work, hands-on activities, student-led discussions, or focus on "real world" skills, it is a good bet that previous generations of experts have promoted it, teachers have employed it, and children have suffered through it.

Technology is more sophisticated today than in the past, but the expectations of it are not. Educators anticipated that radio, film, and television, all considered state-of-the-art technologies in their day, would revolutionize classroom instruction.  Today, many teachers appear to have a similar faith in computers.

The politicians who control state government have changed, but the politics haven't. 

#TeachingInNC is an essential resource for those who are trying to understand contemporary education policy debates in N.C. We need to be mindful, however, that disputes over the mission and management of public schools are nothing new.

Over the last century, elected officials, bureaucrats, and partisans have long complained of legislative neglect - insufficient education funding, inadequate school facilities, and unsuitable instructional materials, to name a few. 

Likewise, educators have long accused elected officials of providing unsatisfactory compensation, preserving unacceptable working conditions, and cultivating a negative perception of their profession.

WUNC's #TeachingInNC project is an essential resource for those who are trying to understand contemporary education policy debates in North Carolina.  We need to be mindful, however, that disputes over the mission and management of public schools are nothing new.  They are deeply rooted in the history of our state and thus will not be easy to resolve.

Terry L. Stoops is the Director of Research and Education Studies at the John Locke Foundation
 

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