In the News

Leaving Room for Divergence

Lisette Partelow argues why policymakers and advocates of education policy changes should be able to move beyond either-or thinking.

The second film of the “Divergent” franchise just came out, and, oddly enough, the release got me thinking a lot about education policy. In case you’re unfamiliar, the series portrays a world in which adolescents must sort themselves into one of five factions: selfless, erudite, dauntless, candor or peaceful. Once they decide, they must live their whole life personifying their chosen faction’s trait. This society leaves no room for one person to embody aspects of multiple factions – people who do get labelled as divergent, are considered dangerous and are shunned and repressed.

At some point, education policy debates in Washington became so absurd that they started to take on elements of this dreary Hollywood dystopia. Some who work in the education policy world seem to think that there are card-carrying reformers and there are knee-jerk Dianne Ravitch supporters, but there is no room for anything in between; it’s even been dubbed the “education wars.”

The above excerpt was originally published in U.S. News & World Report. Click here to view the full article.

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Lisette Partelow

Senior Fellow