Judging Quality of School Reform

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Louis B. Mayer, a Russian immigrant who went into the film business, founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in 1924. He produced the blockbuster film of its day, Ben Hur, and wanted to join high-class society. Friends told him that upper-class men played golf.

In his gruff way, he began playing golf but he never got the hang of the sport, failing to understand that you scored the game in strokes. He thought golf was a race and that finishing in a shorter time meant you were getting better. He hired two caddies with the first one posted down the fairway to find the ball after he hit it. Then, the second caddy would run ahead and put himself in position for Mayer’s second shot. This continued for eighteen holes. After the game was over, Mayer would look at his watch: “We made it in an hour and seven minutes! Three minutes…

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