Dear Deb, A new report by McKinsey & Co., the management consultants, came out last week, and it is worthy of our attention. The report was released at a press conference in Washington, D.C., by NYC Chancellor Joel Klein and the Reverend Al Sharpton. The McKinsey report acknowledges their "significant input," along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Center for American Progress, and others. At the press conference, according to the story in The New York Times, Chancellor Klein “said the study vindicated the idea that the root cause of test-score disparities was ...


Dear Diane, Your Tuesday column set out good reasons for rejecting standardized testing to reward teachers. I sent a letter home to parents every year on the 10 factors that influenced their child's reading scores. I'll send it to you one day soon—it still applies. Incidentally, some readers may not realize that the high-scoring nations that use standardized tests, if at all, use a different kind than those you were describing. They often consist of written and oral cross-examination, with grades determined by well-qualified judges. (The international scores we read about, readers should realize, are the results of low-stakes...


Dear Deborah, Over time we have developed a very solid and smart community of readers who like to argue with us and with each other. That is as it should be. And of course we need to bridge differences—or disagree—with them, too, as we do with each other. So the subject today is merit pay. This is an important topic because it has become clear that President Obama has decided to hang his hat on this idea. It has not yet been explained just what he means by merit pay. Does he mean that teachers should be paid ...


Dear Diane, Ah yes, miracle promises are dangerous. In the bad old “decentralization” days, we were told local “corruption” ran rampant—thus the need to centralize. Your account of the Al Sharpton/Joel Klein deal, not to mention all the no-bid contracts under Klein, the high-paid consultants, etc., makes the bad old days seem pretty good. It’s true that for me 1975-95 were heady times: I thought we might break the mold! The innovative work going on in District 4, District 2, and the Alternative High School division were the result of a lively teacher conversations occurring all over...


Editor's Note: Bridging Differences is back today after a week's publishing break. Dear Deborah, We in New York City were treated to an amazing show in early April. A group that calls itself the "Education Equality Project" held a conference and attracted such stellar educators as Arne Duncan, Joe Biden, Newt Gingrich, Margaret Spellings, and Michelle Rhee. The conveners of the conference were New York City's Chancellor Joel Klein and the Reverend Al Sharpton. The purpose apparently was to talk about how important it is to close the achievement gap between whites/Asians and Blacks/Hispanics. On this count, no ...


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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