Dear Deborah, As I write this, I am concluding a week of book-touring, and what a week it has been! I started in Chicago, where I spoke at DePaul University, the University of Illinois, Catalyst, and the National School Boards Association. At NSBA, I was in a concurrent session, but well over 1,000 people showed up, and security guards closed the doors when there were no more chairs. I flew to California and spoke at UCLA, Stanford, and Berkeley. At UCLA, the audience included a large contingent of young teachers from Fremont High School, which is bring "transformed" or "turned...


Dear Diane, I wish you were going to be with us this Saturday as we celebrate the work we have accomplished over the past half-century and figure out how to counter the latest onslaught. Our friend teacherken quotes Les Leopold's question in his recent blog. "Why Are 25 Hedge Fund Managers Worth 658,000 teachers?" "That money could have hired 658,000 entry level teachers...with benefits." The wealthy will have placed an estimated $2 trillion into hedge funds by the end of this year, while schools experience cutbacks everywhere. "That's about $6,500 for every man, woman and child ...


Dear Deborah, In my book I argue that No Child Left Behind was a failed strategy. We both know the reasons why. It narrowed the curriculum; it introduced a culture of testing and test prepping into the nation's schools; it represented an unprecedented extension of federal control into the nation's schools; it required teaching to what are admittedly inadequate tests; it demanded an unrealistic goal of 100 percent proficiency for all children in all groups; it encouraged states to inflate their scores; it promoted cheating and gaming the system; and it harmed public education because no state was able to ...


Dear Diane, Here's an essential question: When trying to get at the truth of things, what role do data play? Most of the time our "habits" take over before we can exercise any form of reflective judgment (which is why John Dewey focused on "habits of mind" as the goal of good schools). Habits are slow growing so slowing things down could help. It takes a "leisure class" to rule well. Leisure has a democratic purpose because "data" rarely speak for themselves. That's true whether the data are numbers or observations. Sometimes, highly structured and standardized "observations"—standardized tests—work....


Dear Deborah, Today I am going to cheat. Well, not really cheat, but just deal with the fact that I am hard pressed to find time to do much more than breathe and sleep (I do not include "eat" because I have been skipping meals, and I should not include "sleep" because I don't do much of that either.) I have been lecturing, writing, and traveling nonstop. I am getting, on average, about 100 emails daily from readers of my book, mainly teachers who either say "thank you" or "help." My book appears at #16 on The New York Times ...


The opinions expressed in Bridging Differences are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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