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Originally posted on Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:
“Zombie ideas” are “beliefs about policy that have been repeatedly refuted with evidence and analysis but refuse to die,” according to Paul Krugman. The astonishment that Krugman expresses about the return of erroneous ideas again and again that simply won’t die regardless of how much evidence there is to destroy them springs from Krugman’s belief in policymakers being rational beings. Policymakers consider research studies and rational argument, logic, and evidence to inform, make, and determine policy. As anyone in political life knows, however, such analyses do not destroy zombie brains with laser-like rationality. Erroneous ideas trump rationality and account for the zombie phenomenon again and again.
The repeated return of mistaken ideas captures well my experiences with technologies in schools and what I have researched over decades. The zombie idea that is rapidly being converted into policies that in the past have been “refuted with evidence but refuse to…
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