Lessons from Failure

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Mike McShane and I have an article in the Phi Delta Kappan Magazine summarizing the lessons we learned from our edited book on Failure.

We took the contributions by Larry Cuban (from Stanford University), Matthew DiCarlo (the Shanker Institute), Anna Egalite (North Carolina State University), Rick Hess and Paige Wiley (the American Enterprise Institute), Ashley Jochim (the Center for Reinventing Public Education), Matthew Ladner (the Charles Koch Institute), Megan Tompkins-Stange (the University of Michigan), Martin West (Harvard University), and Daniel Willingham (the University of Virginia) and boiled it down to three trade-offs and three lessons.

But if like Hillel I had to state what we learned while standing on one foot, I’d say, “Education is an inherently political enterprise, so if you try too hard to substitute normal political processes with the authority of technical expertise, you will fail.”

4 Responses to Lessons from Failure

  1. Wise article. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Greg Forster says:

    Well done! Provocative ideational question: what other forms does the “end run around democracy” take other than “hiding behind technocracy”?

    • Thanks! Other tactics that I think attempt to end-run democracy include state or mayoral takeovers, centralized state or federal regulation issued by staff, deference to experts panels, etc…

      • Greg Forster says:

        Eeeeeeent! “Expert panels” are “hiding behind technocracy.” Otherwise, good answer!

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