I find this quote quite relevant in education.
We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road. There is nothing progressive about being pigheaded and refusing to admit a mistake. — C. S. Lewis
While I want to enthusiastically yell, “Amen!” I, unfortunately, recognize that pointing this out doesn’t endear me to the people around me. What I find curious about education is that we scream from the rafters the importance of selecting programs and curriculum that are research-based. However, no one checks the research to see how well based it is/was. People drink the Kook-aid, find other reasons for the lack of success (failure to show fidelity to the product is my favorite), and then buckle down to deliver the program “smarter not harder.” No one ever considers that maybe, just maybe, the research is faulty. We don’t really examine it. We take someone at his/her word. Someone, by the way, who is making TONS of money from school districts and has no reason to be completely honest with us.
I think in moving forward to progress, we need to really examine what it is that’s important. What does society need? What will our future citizens need to thrive? Then we need to deliver INSTRUCTION that capitalizes on our goals. Curriculum, however, we need to learn to take with a grain of salt. After all, should we learn we’re traveling down the wrong path, wouldn’t it be nice for us to turn around rather than making proclamations about “The Emperor’s New Clothes”?