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 ...


Dear Diane, Columnists who write about education can display amazing chutzpah. How about this headline in the Boston Globe: “How Obama can fix education”? Of course, it’s also the editors of our “finest” newspapers who are to blame for this view of education as an appliance. Or David Brooks, where we enter an Orwellian world in which the only serious “reformers” are those who offend teachers and their unions—and assume the worst about both. Thus Linda Darling-Hammond, after a lifetime of serious work at really cutting-edge, break-the-mold school reform in New York state and California, becomes a hack...


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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