Washington corner: Changing view of silver bullet solutions

WASHINGTON HAS LONG BEEN IN SEARCH of the “silver bullet” for education, breathlessly promoting the latest and greatest new idea. Extended day. Extended year. Pay for performance. Pay for grades. Tenure reform. Afterschool programs. Teacher mentoring. School choice. Differentiated accountability. Growth models.

While these methods have the potential to have a positive impact on student learning, choosing just one or choosing several unsystematically will never reform education. We have not been able to find the silver bullet because it is a myth. Silver bullets worked for the Lone Ranger, but he lived only in fiction.

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October 2009