Thursday, December 07, 2006

Where do we go from here?

Funny how Matthew Yglesias, another eponymous online entity, is concerned that Andrew Rotherham over at Eduwonk hasn't blogged on Paul Tough's very well written and important post-Thanksgiving NYT Magazine piece "What it Takes to Make a Student" (Times Select now required bummer). Funny because I didn't feel compelled to post on it either, even though I felt like I should say something. I read Tough's article enthralled while I was in New York and kept waiting for help--for answers--but aren't we all? I took notes even. I took notes on some research Tough quotes like Martin Seligman's positive psychology and graduate student Angela Duckworth's work on selective self discipline.

After some prodding Eduwonk's response to Tough's article is crafted and deliberate and holds the article up as tops for the year. Eduwonk writes:

"I liked with the direction the story pointed at the end. Basically we have an enormous social problem here but whether or not we solve it is hardly out of our hands. However, it requires a pretty fundamental rethinking of how we do things in an industry that has changed little in a half-century despite enormous social, demographic, and labor market changes. That, of course, is why I come to work every day."

It's hard not to second Eduwonk enthusiastically. So I won't hold back. Tough's article was a strongly written popular piece. Though Tough's article lacks in precision, it tells us where we are and provides some possibilities. Anyhow, for my readers (I know there are a couple, thank you so much by the way), I just want to share a similar sentiment. When I read Tough's piece in the NYT Magazine I couldn't put it down. But I didn't have much to say afterward either. It's like pondering a road sign, the meaning in a name, the history of the place, the people who shape the land. We can sit and look at the sign, but without following where it goes it's tough to know much.


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