The Times finally published the second part of my response to the US Department of Education’s Project Respect proposal:
Effective teaching requires time and intimate knowledge of individual students’ minds and capabilities. These are things that a computer cannot do, and teachers cannot do well if they are responsible for too many students….While I can still be an effective teacher in a large class (and I actually had 50 students at once in Virginia at certain points), I cannot be a highly effective teacher of skills, understanding and decency in that environment…
Before we discuss extending school days and years, I would rather examine how to better use the time we have. The law of diminishing returns is very much in play with young people’s time, particularly adolescents. I have seen far too many teachers and schools make the mistake of saying, “we need to do more,” when in reality they need to do less better.
Please read, and comment, on the whole piece. I’m really happy with how this one turned out.