The most intriguing topic of the past week was discovering that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been subsidizing research into something called "galvanic skin response monitors." This research is intended to develop a bracelet that may be worn regularly by students and teachers to gauge their physiological reactions to what is happening in the classroom.


What both countries seem to be engaged in is how to move closer to the other, without losing the strengths of each. And, of course, their "purposes" are not wholly in synch. Both want to strengthen their economies, but the Chinese state schools are not trying also to produce feisty and critical citizens for a democracy.


As the pressure to reach the targets get tougher, many districts are devising ways to raise their graduation rates that have nothing to do with thinking and learning. A prime suspect is credit recovery.


She made clear that it wasn't for me to think. But even more serious, I had missed the whole point: "Hadn't I read the curriculum guide?"


Of course, Pearson is not just a publisher of standardized tests. It is a mega-corporation. It is a behemoth of for-profit goods and services to the education marketplace.


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