Dear Diane, Yes, it seems so obvious to you and me. Using their metrics, the boosters of mayoral control can hardly point to any trend that supports their claims. On NAEP data, the two biggie mayoral control cities show no change, and on graduation data, NYC shows some improvement, but Chicago shows none, even if we go by the city's data. If we look at the data in the recent RAND study, it confirms many others—charter schools do no better re. test scores than their comparable neighborhood schools—some better, some worse. The data on merit pay don’t ...


Dear Deborah, If you recall, I took some heat from readers when I said some while back that the Obama administration was adopting the same policies as the Bush administration and that Arne Duncan sounds amazingly like Margaret Spellings on issues like accountability and choice. I just read a fascinating description of "Obama's Bipartisan Triumphs" by Matt Miller, who is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, one of those Beltway think tanks that sets the tone for federal policy. CAP is especially important because its director John Podesta ran the Obama transition. Miller writes: "In Republicans' eyes, ...


Dear Diane, Thanks for being there at the venerable old Julia Richman high school building last week, Diane. So many old friends, some new ones, and a nice net profit for FairTest—the little David facing the Harcourts, McGraws, ETS's, et al Goliaths that sponsored the event. Actually, Diane, FairTest is not anti-test, but skeptical about the instruments used for mass standardized testing and, above all, the uses to which they are put. The same publishers that once warned us against any test prep, other than the practice tests they sent out with the real test, now probably make as much...


Dear Deborah, I enjoyed seeing you honored as a hero of education by FairTest last week, which established an annual award named for you. If anyone had told me five years ago that I would be at that event, I would have thought them mad. This is what “Bridging Differences” has done for me, I suppose. At the event, I was surrounded, not surprisingly, by educators who have long believed that standardized tests are more wrong than right, or that they are a crime against children’s nature, or worse. I continue to believe that we can get valuable information ...


Dear Diane, You are right. We agree on the civil rights movement’s history. Schools were never the primary focus—but one of many interconnected ones. The connection between schooling and the economy interests me—but for different reasons than the usual PR-linkage (you’ll make more money). As long as there are jobs that pay poorly there will be “the poor,” but a well-educated underclass will have a better shot at defending their social and economic interests—as citizens. And a well-educated citizenry in general will give us a better shot at a healthy economy. Maybe. It depends on...


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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