In general, I think that some of the research, like any social science research on a complex topic with multiple variables, isn't terribly definitive. And I think that different kids need different things when it comes to education. And different parents want different things. Some parents want a well-rounded type of education that teaches solid academic skills but also leaves room for art, music, socializing, etc. Others want just the academic rigors and still others want a more artsy kind of education. As a school, then, it's hard to please and meet all those different needs and desires. Add to that the desire of state and federal government to assess progress without necessarily coming up with the best way to do that and you have a recipe for bad schools. Or at least schools that are very far from the ideal that many educated parents want.
One of our regulars (lgm? lsquared?) left a similar comment the other day, which I had intended to post up front but can't find at the moment.
This is an important question.
Do we have a sense of:
a) whether different children need different things
b) whether different parents want different things (I would say 'yes' to this one)
c) if parents want different things, what do these different things boil down to?
d) if parents want different things, what are the 'deal breakers'? (i.e., on what issues can parents compromise without feeling 'rolled over' -- )
At this point, having experienced Hogwarts, I am a partisan for boys schools (for boys who want or need boys school, not for all boys), structure, and in loco parentis.
Those elements may not be 'deal breakers' for me, however. I'm not sure.
The deal breaker for me is direct instruction in the liberal arts.I want my child to receive a liberal education. I don't want him to receive an 'education' in 21st century skills. On this matter, there is no room for compromise.
As for the distinctions amongst a well-rounded and solid education versus an academically rigorous education versus a more "artsy" education -- any of these would be fine with me. They would be great, in fact, although C. would be mildly resistant to "artsy."
But is my attitude likely to be common?