Sunday, September 14, 2008

Shorter George Will: There Are Magical Solutions To What Ails Our Schools

Will's got another piece today about Little Inner-City Schools That Could. Schools like this are great, as individual schools. The last school like this Will described had a former business big-wheel as its head, and teachers who graduated from a bunch of Ivy League and equivalent schools.

The problem with this sort of school, as I pointed out last time, is replicability. There are only so many energetic business executives (or educators who could have prospered in that route) to go around, and there are only so many bright young grads from elite colleges who are willing to teach at inner-city schools.

In today's column, Will dodges that question by simply not talking about how Cristo Rey Jesuit High School is run. He says Cristo Rey can do what it does "because it is not shackled by bureaucracy or unions, as public schools are." I'm all for the Jesuits opening and running as many schools like this as they can manage. But even the Jesuits can only run and staff a certain number of schools (they're opening more schools like Cristo Rey in other cities), especially in a world where the number of Catholics entering holy orders continues to decrease.

So good for Cristo Rey, good for the Jesuits, and good for all the inner-city kids that these two dozen schools on this model will rescue from dead-end lives. But let's not kid ourselves that this is a solution to our schools' problems.

No comments: