From Ellen Livingston’s blog TOTALLY RANDOM

There’s a wonderful line in Michel Foucault’s 1975 masterwork, Discipline and Punish, in which the author asks, “Is it surprising that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, which all resemble prisons?”

image_xlimage_2010_03_R8760_HARLEM_SUCCESS_ACADEMYThe question replayed again and again in my mind yesterday as I read The New York Times‘ front-page story about the city’s Harlem Success Academy charter chain. The article delineated in excruciating detail the Gradgrindian world of these schools, in which elementary students are known to wet themselves during practice tests (unclear if it’s the result of a no-bathroom policy or just sheer terror over yet another drill whose results will be publicly posted), sit cross-legged in carefully-prescribed postures (a teacher may be instructed to “reset your carpet expectations” when they do not), and public shaming of underperforming students the norm (one teacher reported being scolded by an administrator for failing to tear up a student’s failing paper in front of her)…

First, a word about the “end.” Raising student achievement and test scores is a laudable enough “end.” But when it becomes the sole goal of education, something is terribly wrong. These are not law school graduates in their 20s preparing for a bar examination…. Read more>>