So, given that, what are the points of commonality? Kohn wrote Punished By Rewards, a book that details how punishments and rewards reduce the likelihood that someone will pursue something once those constraints are removed, and how schools thereby make students avoid learning when they can. He also wrote The Homework Myth, which aggregates all the studies that disprove the supposed effectiveness of homework. He’s also been paramount in criticisms of standardized testing and believes students should have more say in the classroom.
And yet Kohn still thinks teachers should take charge. There shouldn’t be standardized assessments, but there should be imposed assessments. And teachers should still decide what children learn. Notably, while he offers studies and other proof for his other opinions, he offers none for these. These he takes on faith.
Kohn knows centralized authority weakens education, yet he’s still willing to keep a vestige of it. It’s common enough for revolutionaries to turn around and demand control with power in their own hands. It becomes quite frustrating to see so many people demand greater freedom and respect for our kids, but who balk at the logical conclusion.
Yet here we remain, we who distrust power over others so much we don’t even want it for ourselves. And we’ll be here as more and more people realize this is the only proper way for someone who believes in freedom in our children's education.
Sean Vivier, MLSS Staff