Jay Matthews’ Top Ten Concerns About Education

Found somewhere (don’t remember where anymore turns out it was here), this interview with longtime Washington Post education reporter Jay Matthews. I was particularly interested in the seventh question:

7) What do you see as the top ten concerns in education? What are the biggest concerns in the Washington Circle?

My concerns or Washington’s? I will go with mine:

1. Low standards and expectations in low-income schools.

2. Very inadequate teacher training in our education schools.

3. Failure to challenge average students in nearly all high
schools with AP and IB courses.

4. Corrupt and change-adverse bureaucracies in big city districts.

5. A tendency to judge schools by how many low income kids they
have, the more there are the worse the school in the public

6. A widespread feeling on the part of teachers, because of their
inherent humanity, that it is wrong to put a child in a
challenging situation where they may fail, when that risk of
failure is just what they need to learn and grow.

7. The widespread belief among middle class parents that their
child must get into a well known college or they won’t be as
successful in life.

8. A failure to realize that inner city and rural schools need to
give students more time to learn, and should have longer school
days and school years.

9. A failure to realize that the best schools–like the KIPP
charter schools in the inner cities—are small and run by
well-recruited and trained principals who have the power to
hire all their teachers, and quickly fire the ones that do not
work out.

10. The resistance to the expansion of charter schools in most
school district offices.

How many apply to Lebanon?

Offhand, I’d say 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8.

Any takers?

Explore posts in the same categories: education, pedagogy, social science

6 Comments on “Jay Matthews’ Top Ten Concerns About Education”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    How about #4.
    You don’t need to be big to be adverse to change and change-agents.

  2. Dennis Says:

    I don’t think the bureaucracy is change-averse in this case.

    It seems more the parents, and perhaps some teachers.

    But the District Office staff seems pretty supportive of Robinson.

    Yes? No?

  3. Anonymous Says:

    You missed #5.

  4. Dennis Says:

    I don’t think Lebanon residents think that #5 applies here – outsiders might, but I think there’s definitely a lot of pride in Lebanon schools as is.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Did you work for the school system when Riverview opened? Parents were trying to move their students to Riverview because it was in a better neighborhood and was going to be a better school because of that.
    Even now several years later, while at various trainings when behavior issues or lack of parental involvement come up, the question of which school arises and then there is a supposedly “knowing nod” when it’s one of the schools which have more low income families. Another issue is that I have heard staff themselves proclaim that their students test scores are lower because they have more low income families.
    With only one highschool you probably don’t see this but there are several elementry schools and I see it way to often at the elementry level.

  6. Dennis Says:


    I did not work for the district when Riverview opened, and neither do I work at the elementary level.


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