Brooks on Education: A New Kind of Diversity

David Brooks, on the need for a new kind of diversity:

Schools have to engage people as they are. That requires leaders who insist on more cultural diversity in school: not just teachers who celebrate cooperation, but other teachers who celebrate competition; not just teachers who honor environmental virtues, but teachers who honor military virtues; not just curriculums that teach how to share, but curriculums that teach how to win and how to lose; not just programs that work like friendship circles, but programs that work like boot camp.

The basic problem is that schools praise diversity but have become culturally homogeneous. The education world has become a distinct subculture, with a distinct ethos and attracting a distinct sort of employee. Students who don’t fit the ethos get left out.


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  • Patrick

    I wonder if this phenomenon is limited mainly to public schools?

  • Tim

    Yes, we need to educate to the diverse needs of individuals. No one size fits all. That is why testing should be more diagnostic than evaluative (think medical tests for the purpose of healing). What needs to go is the one size fits all testing. Start there! The current system is demoralizing for students and soul killing for teachers

  • Regrading what Brooks says about students being left out, for whatever reasons — isn’t the high incidence of psychotropic meds for children indicative of not fitting in, per parents’ and teachers’ judgments? Teachers also seem subjected to similar vetting for “fitness” to the ethos of the schools, whether public or private. Does diversity become devalued in actuality, when it is enforced by humans? That is the epitome of irony.