ook back at any election in recent years
Slavin, who grew up in Washington, D.C., was attracted to Reed because it was radical, different and far away. The other place I got into was Johns Hopkins, which seemed rather stodgy and also had no women. I thought Reed would be quite the opposite, and it was. Madden grew up in Iowa and northern California. When her family returned to the Midwest during her high school years, she pined for the coast--I considered California the center of the world, she says--and settled on Reed for its academic strength and liberal philosophy.
The two shared a passion for education and spent hours walking the Reed campus discussing the subject. But their How I became a teacher story isnt exactly straightforward. In his sophomore year, Slavin, a psychology major, walked into the ed psych class hed eagerly anticipated taking with professor Carol Creedon only to find it was oversubscribed. The only way you could stay in was to be pre-registered or preparing to be a teacher, he says.
|and youll find the phrase education reform scattered liberally about.|
| Vouchers, achievement
tests, mainstreaming, back to basics... everyone has an idea how it should
be done--and so far, the ideas havent amounted to much.
Weve been in continuous reform for 20 years with nothing to show for it, says Robert Slavin 72. The reading performance of American children has been flat since 1971. That, he feels, is absolutely unacceptable, particularly in the case of minority and low-income children whose futures hang solely on the quality of schooling they receive. The difference between being a non-reader and a reader can be the difference between going to jail and being a contributing member of society, Slavin says. Were talking about life and death issues for these kids.
Slavin and his wife, Nancy Madden 73, have
devoted their lives to creating better prospects for such children through
an evidence-based approach to education reform--in short, doing what demonstrably
works. Why this concept hasnt caught on in education as it has in
medicine, agriculture, and virtually every other field of endeavor is
a mystery to Slavin. But for the most part, he says, schools function
much as they did a century ago. If Rip Van Winkle were a teacher
and came back today, there would be a few things he couldnt do--say,
run the overhead projector--but hed still be a pretty good teacher.