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Preschool is No Solution to Nonschool Problems

Robert Bligh speaks out about the nonsense of blaming schools for what being raised in poverty does to children--and also the nonsense of assuming that since we don't have a "solution" we can't criticize the problem.

by Robert Bligh

The conditions that cause children to fail in school cannot be found in schools.

They can be found in the 91 percent of each childhood spent outside of school.

They cannot be fixed by schools and they cannot be fixed by preschools.

Superintendent X asked, "So what do you realistically suggest we do?"

Here's Bligh's response, which we should all take to heart. We hear the "solutions" response so much when we criticize NCLB, RTTT, CCSS, and other alphabet poison.

I believe that your question embodies the fallacy of an appeal to consequences. It argues that, if I cannot suggest a satisfactory solution to the difficulty that my argument proposes, then my argument must be wrong. I urge you to recognize that there is no logical relationship between (a) the validity of my argument and (b) whether I can offer a realistic solution to the problem that my argument identifies. The mere absence of satisfactory solutions should not be an excuse to continue behaviors that we know to be irrational.

Imagine the historical changes that could have resulted if just one of the dozen or so attorneys who served prison time for Watergate had simply said, "Hey, guys. We should not be doing this shit. Its a crime and its wrong."

Imagine the historical changes that could have resulted if educators had stood up en masse in 1965 and said, "Hey, guys. Daniel Patrick Moynihan is right. The problems of these innocent kids who are condemned to live in chaotic and otherwise inadequate households are not school problems. And they are not problems that schools can solve. The Elementary and Secondary Ediucation Act is based on politically correct nonsense. It must fail. When it fails, don't come bitchin' to us. We have warned you and we are not going to take the fall for your poor judgement and political cowardice."

I confess that my way is not the way to bet, but my judgment tells me that is the way to act and speak.

— Robert Bligh
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