The Atlantic, March 2019
There’s scant evidence that they’re effective. They can, however, be psychologically damaging—and they reflect a dismaying view of childhood.
At 10:21 a.m. on december 6, Lake Brantley High School, in Florida, initiated a “code red” lockdown. “This is not a drill,” a voice announced over the PA system. At the same moment, teachers received a text message warning of an active shooter on campus.
The Atlantic, October 2017
The current debate over public education underestimates its value—and forgets its purpose.
Public schools have always occupied prime space in the excitable American imagination. For decades, if not centuries, politicians have made hay of their supposed failures and extortions. In 2004, Rod Paige, then George W. Bush’s secretary of education, called the country’s leading teachers union a “terrorist organization.” In his first education speech as president, in 2009, Barack Obama lamented the fact that “despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we’ve let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short, and other nations outpace us.”
The Wall Street Journal — March 31, 2016
Erika Christakis, an early-education expert who most recently taught at Yale University, thinks that adults and children have reversed roles. Adults, she says, now act like children, reading children’s books and dressing like college students, while children have become overscheduled and hyper-pressured, their childhoods cut short. “Adults are paying attention to their own self-care with mindfulness and spa care and yoga, yet children are really suffering,” she says.
As the nation’s leaders out-bid each other to win “most childish,” its littlest children are held to increasingly grownup standards.
Americans were left reeling in recent days at the sight of grown men who aspire to George Washington’s job mired in what can only be described as potty talk. “Mr. Rubio suggested Mr. Trump had urinated in his trousers,” The New York Times archly noted. The insults went downhill from there, as Trump defended the size of his genitals during a subsequent live presidential debate.