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Harvard EdCast: Addicted to Reform

By Matt Weber on August 17, 2017 2:12 PM
John Merrow, Ed.D.'73, former education correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, shares insights from his new book Addicted to Reform: A 12-Step Program to Rescue Public Education.

John MerrowThroughout his long career as an education journalist for PBS Newshour and NPR, John Merrow, Ed.D.'73, spoke to many people in education — from policymakers to district leaders to classroom teachers — and he was impressed by the dedication most had to improving the field.

"The best people in the world work in education," says Merrow, author of numerous books on education including The Influence of Teachers: Reflections on Teaching and Leadership. "There’s no question about that.”

But there was a problem, in his estimation. Despite all the well-meaning people devoting their time and energy to making reforms, things were just not changing. When Merrow retired from journalism and began blogging, he was forced to take a close look at how he really felt about the state of education reform.

“I realized that we have been spinning our wheels by basically attacking the symptoms of a problem and not addressing the real problem," says Merrow. "We became addicted to this process.”

In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Merrow discusses his new book, Addicted to Reform: A 12-Step Program to Rescue Public Education, and suggests ways in which education reformers can stop the cycle and head toward making real change.

About the Harvard EdCast

The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber and co-produced by Jill Anderson, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.