Dear Diane, Happy New Year! I spent last Saturday going through years of “stuff” I’ve collected—letters, essays, reports, notes, etc. that will be going to the Lilly Library at the University of Indiana. Eighty percent of it is school stuff. Several colleagues came over to help put together boxes and sort. It was hard going because we kept calling out—“oh, listen to this!”. I recall how confident I felt in the late 70s and 80s that we could “prove” a point: all kids could grapple with important abstract ideas—and love it. We succeeded. We made a dent:...


Editor's Note: Bridging Differences resumes today. Dear Deborah, Happy New Year to you and to our readers. 2009 is shaping up to be an important year for American education. We will soon have a new Secretary of Education, a new voice in charge of the nation's bully pulpit. There will be much for us to discuss and debate as the policies of the new administration are rolled out. I have read a great deal about Arne Duncan in the press, but still don't have a clear idea about where he stands on important questions and how tied he is to ...


Editor's Note: Bridging Differences is taking a short holiday break. Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch will return to the blog the week of Jan. 4, 2009....


Dear Diane, I’m not sure that it’s Red vs. Blue. (It’s still hard for me to realize we are now in an age when red is the color of conservatism.) The choice of Arne Duncan leaves me sad, but maybe he’s “purple”? I hope so. I’ll wait to comment until all the education positions are filled. There’s another axis of ideas that may cross lines on some of the issues that most concern us. We’re lined up, for example, on different issues in different places; for example, with regard to “who should decide ...


Dear Deborah, Now we know that President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Arne Duncan as his secretary of education. This must be a relief to Linda Darling-Hammond, who heads Obama's transition team for education policy, because now the attacks on her can cease. I have been shocked by the editorial onslaught directed at Darling-Hammond in major newspapers and magazines. After you wrote your column, I read a few more editorials (most recently in The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The New Republic) drawing a distinction between LDH and "reformers" like Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee. I have been withholding ...


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