Exposing the Myths of Education

By David Sklarz

Everyone has his or her own beliefs about education. It is the easiest profession to pass judgment on, even when the “facts” are based on hearsay and coffee shop conversation. Parents send their children to our schools, taxpayers fund them, and everyone else has gone to school.

This firsthand experience seems good enough for people to form opinions about the work you do. Over time, these notions have circulated as truths and seldom have been challenged, the way so-called urban myths or legends take on a life as fact over fiction.

You often hear the comment: “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach.” As a school superintendent, I have heard the corollary many times: “Those who can’t teach become superintendents.” In my early days as a teacher, I passed on some of these tried-and-true phrases, too. My favorite: “Don’t smile until after holiday break.”

Over time, we have come to believe some of these judgments to be educational doctrine rather than what they really are—education myths. It’s time for us to debunk these myths and replace them with what we really know about education, teachers, and teaching.

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