Dear Deborah, Over the time that we have been blogging, we have found many issues on which we disagree—mostly having to do with externally set curriculum, standards, and tests—and many on which we agree—mostly having to do with autocratic school leadership and efforts to force a business model on the schools. Since I am writing you on a day when the world economic system is in disarray, I would like to focus on the relevance of the business model for the nation’s public schools. For the past 15 years or more, we have heard a steady...

Dear Diane, NYC’s success at claiming to be the new Texas miracle is depressing. I may delay responding to your response to my query about national standards. Or get at it more slowly! But it makes me do some tough we might stick with it for a while once again. Speaking of tough, the Paul Tough book sticks in my mind a lot. The school he describes with such honest detail had one and only one standard: better test scores. Geoff Canada and his board were committed to proving that they could make substantial progress in closing ...

Dear Deborah, When Gov. Roy Romer spoke of national standards at our recent debate, I believe he was suggesting the development of national standards and testing on a voluntary basis, starting with about 15 governors working together to derive a common program. He did not say whether he would want “stakes” attached to national testing. In my own version of national standards and testing, I would like to see a system that had zero stakes (like NAEP), one where the federal government or some national entity administered tests, released information to the states, and then left the follow-up (the stakes, ...

Dear Diane, John Dewey spent his life warning us about false dichotomies. One of our readers, I notice, warned fellow readers of our column not to slip into the same trap. I thought of that after watching the Obama/McCain debate: some observers thought Obama was mistaken to remind voters that McCain was often right. I liked that. In face of the Obama/McCain debate, I’ve lost track of ours, Diane! The fun part of our formulaic debate last week in D.C. (at the Fordham Institute) was how hard it was sometimes to tell the “ayes” from the “nays.”...

Dear Deborah, You were a great partner in our debate last week in Washington, where the two of us—accustomed to differing—sparred with former governor of Colorado Roy Romer (who now chairs the group ED in ’08) and Jon Schnur (the founder of New Leaders for New Schools). I think we surprised everyone, perhaps even ourselves, by arguing in opposition to the idea that there should be a larger federal role in education in the future. Our joint position was that the federal government should have a larger role in providing pre-kindergarten, after-school programs, nutrition, and healthcare, but should...

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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