Roxanna EldenEducation has become a hot topic these days. Politicians, pundits, filmmakers, philanthropists, and even our nonteacher friends are eager to weigh in on how we should do our jobs.

Much of the messaging in education sounds convincing, and it often contains some elements of truth. However, partially true statements treated as fully true become false. Some, like the claims below, can even have harmful side effects if teachers take them at full strength.

The status quo is unacceptable.

Accusing someone of “defending the status quo” in education circles is like talking about someone’s mama on the playground. These are fighting words, because — indeed — there is much about our education system that should be improved. That does not mean, however, that the speaker’s intended change is an improvement. Some developments, like cutting arts programs or excessive focus on testing, make things worse. Even positive changes can undermine teaching if they are poorly planned and chaotic, especially if these changes are quickly plowed up and replaced by a new round of last-minute fixes. After all, the No. 1 piece of inherited wisdom in teaching is the need to be consistent.

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