Educator Discussions That Avoid “The Problem”

“Educational leaders long ago worked out adequate techniques for dodging the issue.”

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

In 1942, Progressive educator Paul Diederich wrote “The Light Touch: 27 Ways to Run Away from an Educational Problem” for Progressive Education. He wrote this piece after being part of intense discussions with hundreds of teachers during summers in the late-1930s when the Eight Year Study was being implemented in 30 high schools across the nation.*

Like Diederich, I have participated in thousands of discussions with teachers, principals, superintendents, board of education members, researchers, and policymakers over my half-century in public school work. I might be able to add one or two but Diederich does a fine job, in my opinion. When I think of (and listen to) current debates about problems like inequality, racism, and poverty as they influence what techers do, how schools operate, and effects on students, I recall many times when I heard and saw school baord members, superintendents, principals, teachers, and parents engage in what…

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