Here’s a little bit to ruminate on during the weekend:
During my thesis defense on Monday, one of my committee members asked me the following question: Based on what your research and your knowledge of the public school system in New Orleans, when do you think was the golden age of education here?
And of course, the follow up question to this could be when was the golden age of education in the United States overall?
Now, answers to these questions obviously depend on innumerable factors and from what perspective you approach them. Indeed, some people will say there was never a golden age in either case, and others will be more willing to entertain the notion that certain policies at particular times created a situation where students regardless of where they were enrolled or their race received an acceptable education (or at least had the opportunity to receive one).
I don’t ask these questions here for the purpose of offering any conclusive answer. I don’t have one, mostly because at 22 years old I don’t know if I have the life experience or have done enough research to reflect on and summarize the evolution of public education in New Orleans or the U.S. Rather, I ask the questions because it occurs to me that regardless of whether there was a golden age or not, there were undoubtedly policies, pedagogies, and methods that existed at different points in time, and some of those things may have been very effective in providing a quality and equitable education to different groups of students.
On that note, I’m curious to hear your thoughts. What policies did school systems have in place at different times that were effective in providing an education to all students? What methods may have been used that we don’t use any more but might re-entertain? My thought is that education and schooling are entities that are constantly changing as we strive to improve them, but there may be things we did well in the past that are worth reconsidering now as we keep trying to find solutions to the challenges we face.
Just something light for the weekend. Have a good one!