Dear Diane, It's fun occasionally to be reminded of why we were considered by so many to be "in opposition." When you took pleasure in the NY Times editorial promoting tests (this time national), I was reminded of our disagreements! Allowing a national definition of success to rest on so many unaligned tests is patently absurd. You would "align" them, I would eliminate them! My quarrel with NCLB is with its power to define success, and then with its use of tests to do so. A more "sensible" NCLB, with a single consistent test, would make it more, not less ...


Dear Deborah, I note with pleasure that The New York Times endorsed (again) the principle of national testing. My guess is that the latest NAEP results for New York City prompted them to do so. As you know, New York City has been trumpeting its "historic gains" in test scores without let-up over the past few years, since Mayor Bloomberg gained control of the school system and persuaded the Legislature to turn it into the Department of Education. As part of what may be a nascent Bloomberg-for-President campaign, the Department's very large public relations staff works hard to persuade the ...


Dear Diane, The intellectual and informational inaccuracy, sloppiness and thoughtlessness of so much of education reporting still shocks me—I know I ought to have gotten over it. The story you told me about the reporter who bought NYC's claims that the latest NAEP results are a sign of the DOE's success is such a perfect example. Investigative reporting is a lost art. They too often see themselves as conduits for press releases, with perhaps one quote from someone "on the other side" to show that it's impartial. It's their style even when I'm delighted with it! E.g.: I loved...


Dear Deborah, It was interesting that you used the analogy to Consumer Reports to discuss the value of grading schools. As a longtime subscriber to CR, I understand that it is useful to have a disinterested voice evaluating the products in the marketplace. To make sure that there is never a conflict of interest, CR does not accept advertising; no one can ever say that their judgments were tainted by commercial interests. The CR example shows, I think, the problems with assigning a letter grade (only one letter grade, not a report card) to each school. To begin with, schools ...


Dear Diane, Amen. We agree, although it will be interesting to see where this takes us—re. alternatives. (For next week?) Bard College President Leon Botstein's outraged voice last week helped me sort out the issues raised by NYC's new school grading system. (Disclosure: my granddaughter is a very happy student at Bard's public high school.) He's right that it is a unique school engaged in a unique project. He is wrong that this makes him different than most other schools—each of which is also "unique". He claims the Regents exams are not good measures of their work. He's...


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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