Bridging Differences returns today with this entry from Diane Ravitch. Dear Deborah, Welcome back from vacation. School is open, and it’s time to start bridging differences. Let’s see what we can do to clarify the deep undercurrents in American politics that are changing what happens in the schoolhouse, and, in some cases, seem likely to change the very nature of the schoolhouse. In my historical studies, I have usually found that the public debates about schooling may be heated, but teaching and learning change glacially. This has always been a source of frustration to reformers, whether they are ...


Editor's note: With this entry, Bridging Differences begins its annual summer hiatus. Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch will return in late August. Dear readers, We’ll be back in late August; I’m not sure exactly what date. We may be playing around with other ways to have our discussion—more and shorter back and forths? We may or may not be able to do it, since we’re both at heart essayists! But maybe short snippets from “the media” which we both take a whack at? Meanwhile, everyone has made some good suggestions for what to read. It ought...


Dear Deborah, Time for our summer break. We'll be back again blogging and thinking out loud when school opens at the end of August. When I was in school, it always started after Labor Day, and I have never understood why schools open in August, especially when so many lack air-conditioning. So, I leave you with absolutely nothing to think about. Rest, relax, read some good books. If you want to read some page-turners, pick up some novels by Harlan Coben. He is a terrific writer who really knows how to hook the reader. But don't start reading them at ...


Dear Diane, A lot of questions. I’d love to know more about your answers, too. But part of the problem is that there are lots of different things called charters—even the charter laws differ dramatically in different states and the schools even more so. Not all are small, and many are no more, and sometimes maybe less, self-governing than the average regular public school. Vouchers are, of course, a straightforward proposal to get out of the public school business—except maybe for the left-overs. The Edison schools (now moving into online learning) have been as large as any public...


Dear Deborah, I am still somewhat unsure about the difference between your small schools and the small schools created by various school districts, or your small schools and the charter schools that are popping up in many districts. I just read in the LA Daily News that Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles, has asked voters to approve a new multi-billion-dollar bond issue to support new charter schools and "small learning communities." Not long ago, the Broad Foundation (and Eli Broad himself) committed $23 million to create many new charter schools in Los Angeles. How will these schools differ ...


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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