Students (Not) at Work

by Carol Iannone

Concord Review editor Will Fitzhugh comments on the more recent criticism of lower education that is finally putting emphasis on student effort instead of blaming supposedly incompetent teachers and belligerent teachers’ unions, factors that have been the focus of much conservative criticism of education. Fitzhugh remarks, “This may seem unacceptably heterodox to those in government and the private sector who have committed billions of dollars to focusing on the selection, training, supervision, and control of K–12 teachers, while giving no thought to whether K–12 students are actually doing the academic work which they are assigned.” Fitzhugh recommends assigning plenty of reading, not excerpts but full-length works of non-fiction, at the high-school level, as well as demanding lengthy writing assignments. This would constitute genuine preparation for college-level work. The Concord Review essays by high-school students average over 6000 words. Essays at the prestigious Choate School, alma mater of JFK, average about three pages.

Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.