Dear Deb, Yup, back-to-school time. I too get that funny feeling in the pit of my stomach, especially when I find myself wandering the aisles of a stationery store, looking at spiral notebooks, pens, and the other accoutrements of starting school and hearing the voice in my head saying that it is time to get ready. This was not a great summer. I spent most of it trying to get a diagnosis and appropriate care for my beloved 10-year-old dog Molly, who became sick in early July. One vet said she has congestive heart failure and has six months to ...


Editor's note: After a month-long break, Bridging Differences returns today with this entry by Deborah Meier. Dear Diane, Summer's over. For 70 years I've approached this time of year with school in mind. With unrealistically high expectations and joy. And a knot in the pit of my stomach. I wish I could at least be grateful that I'm not dealing with the difficult decisions that so many of my colleagues face in the current climate of so-called "reform." But it turns out to be more discomforting to live it vicariously. In the excitement of seeing old friends and new each ...


Bridging Differences is on hiatus for the month of August. Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch will be back in September to continue their conversation about what matters most in education....


Dear Diane, One nice thing about writing you regularly has been that it sharpens my daily reading! Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been reading about lately that seem critical to future educational policy, in no particular order of important. What does it mean that so many policy makers seem content to have teachers who only teach for 3-5 years, not to mention those who accept it as inevitable? How important is it to really figure out whether the alarmist talk about the connection between America’s economic future and schooling is true or false? Myth or reality? ...


Dear Deb, Your discussion of knowledge and trust sounds right to me. We are likely to accept statistics on topics far from our own field, but be skeptical about claims made in areas where we are better informed. This new world of 24/7 news, information, and opinion can sometimes seem overwhelming. We know so much more than we did in the past about happenings all over the world, yet our understanding of this constant flow of information does not appear to be especially deep. It is a constant source of frustration to me, which I have vented in our ...


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