You and I, Diane, want an intellectually feisty citizenry, and that’s what we don’t offer the poor.


Dear Deborah, The columnists at The New York Times are deeply engaged in school reform these days. First Nicholas Kristof discovered that the key to high achievement is measuring student test score gains, then paying more to the teachers whose students gained the most. Then Thomas Friedman discovered that Teach for America was the key to national educational greatness, despite its small numbers. Now David Brooks has discovered "The Harlem Miracle," which is a charter school called Harlem Promise Academy, run by the Harlem Children's Zone. Brooks says that this school has closed the achievement gap. If anyone missed the ...


Dear Diane, I think it’s unlikely that the fans of mayoral control are open to persuasion. But thanks, Diane, for relentlessly pursuing them. We’re in for lots of nonsense in the name of reform. Arne Duncan is planning a contest for a new name to replace the unpopular No Child Left Behind. It’s the name, apparently, that he sees as the problem. Actually, it’s the only thing I like about the bill! Meanwhile Sharpton and Klein and Co. (EEP) are planning a rally in D.C. to end poverty (hurrah), by…"closing the testing gap.” And, ...


Dear Deborah, I watched with some amusement as the media tried to figure out how to report the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Margaret Spellings said that the results vindicated the success of No Child Left Behind. The story by Sam Dillon of The New York Times reported that the achievement gaps—which the law was designed to eliminate—remained unchanged, and the headline of the story was “’No Child’ Law Is Not Closing a Racial Gap.” So which is it? Were the results heartening or not? I’ll try to parse them here for...


Dear Diane, The good news is that most of the American people haven’t lost their common sense. And, above all, those closest to “the action”—parents, teachers, kids, and their families, plus a majority of those who work closely with schools or are “students” of schooling—haven't. What they have lost is the power to be widely heard. The Education Equality Project et al are doing their best to “brainwash” us into thinking we all agree. If there ever was a time when I appreciate the existence of organized “teacher voices,” it’s the days we’re living through....


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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