Dear Diane, I'm always astounded when summer is over. How did it get by me so fast? Of course, in the past few years I don't get plunged back into the three-ring circus of schooling so suddenly. But, oddly, I miss that plunge. Among other reasons because it meant I had no time for worrying about presidential elections, climate change, the gasoline crisis, poverty, torture, nuclear proliferation and, at the moment, about my current bout of Lyme disease. I've gotten phone calls, as I'm sure you have, too, Diane, asking me what kind of advice I'd give the two presidential ...


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...


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