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“Maslow Not Bloom” Captures Conflicting Views for Future of Public Schools

May 17, 2020


The New York Daily News published an op ed article written by four NYS teachers of the year who want to make it clear to readers that technology IS beneficial to teachers but it is no substitute for what a human teacher can provide. In an early paragraph in the article the teachers offer a phrase that captures the ongoing conflict regarding the purpose of school: Maslow vs. Bloom. As one who views the world in a wholistic fashion I would find myself on the Maslow side of this spectrum, which is where these teachers land. Given the announced appointees to Governor Cuomo’s task force for the future of public schools, it appears that the Bloom adherents will have a much stronger voice. The teachers, though, are urging a different perspective, one based on developing self-actualized learners:

To teach our students those kinds of skills, we recognize we can’t do it alone. We need more counselors and psychologists to help students address the stresses and pressures they bring with them to class. We need smaller class sizes. And if we are to use this opportunity to learn a lesson about how we can improve the way we deliver instruction digitally, we need to ensure there is equity in access to technology both at school and at home.

The biggest challenge of course is that these things cost money, and every school district across the state is now bracing to make cuts, not new investments. If there ever were a time for federal and state policymakers to deliver for schools, it’s now.

These four teachers want to be certain the future is not algorithmic but rather humanistic. Computers can provide a Bloom education much more inexpensively… but I hope the public wants more than automatons who can respond to computer generated prompts.

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