What is the key to improving education in America? Stuart Buck says that Barker Bausell’s book, Too Simple to Fail: A Case for Educational Change, provides the answer:
His main thesis: that the only thing that improves education is spending more time on instruction at a given child’s level. In his words:
All school learning is explained in terms of the amount of relevant instructional time provided to a student.
That’s it: more time + suitability for a child’s level.
This may seem too simplistic at first glance, but Bausell marshals evidence that his theory explains, well, a lot. Possibly even the achievement gap. Studies of home behavior have shown that middle-class families spend much more time talking and reading to their children at a high level. This is the most elegant explanation for why those children do better in school — they have had much more time devoted to their learning.
Catholic education has played a major role in the development of Western nations, yet it is in many places in crisis. To bring about renewal, it is necessary to revisit the subject with an eye to fundamental questions. What is the purpose of education? What is distinctive about Catholic education? What is the right relationship between schools, parents, Church, and society?