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June 01, 2010

Deconstructing NAEP Reading Scores for Cities

Dear Deborah, This year the federal testing program (the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP) expanded to include 18 urban districts. The testing of urban districts is known as TUDA (or, Trial Urban District Assessment). TUDA was launched in 2002, in response to a request by the Co...

May 18, 2010

Schools 4 $Sale: Inquire at U.S. DOE

Dear Deborah, You and I are old enough to remember heated debates about what democracy in education means. Some argued that it had to do with the governance of education, with the ability of the public to participate in decisions affecting their children. Some maintained that it had to do with the ...

May 13, 2010

Charters & Their Shallow Community Roots

Dear Diane, That was an amazing and surprising find re. Milwaukee charters. I thought that at the very least they'd get the advantage of being in a more diverse (integrated) setting with more middle-class kids and that being chosen (even by lottery) would produce a kind of halo effect. Why it didn'...

May 11, 2010

A Double Standard on Test Scores

Dear Deborah, Last month, a very important report was released about the voucher program in Milwaukee. It did not receive nearly enough attention, because its findings have major implications for a longstanding debate about the efficacy of vouchers. It was compiled by the School Choice Demonstratio...

March 16, 2010

The Shame of Newsweek

Dear Deborah, Did you see Newsweek last week? What a stunning and uninformed attack on teachers and teachers' unions. The cover of the magazine told the story: The Key to Saving American Education, by Evan Thomas and Pat Wingert. It was printed on a classroom blackboard. In the background, on the s...

March 11, 2010

A Shot in the Arm for Teachers

Dear Diane, I'm back from a trip to Indiana and Ohio. You've brought the teachers and administrators I met great joy and hope. They asked me to say thanks. The level of fear out there in the field is enormous. Of course, many of your critics will be delighted to hear this. They see security as the ...

March 09, 2010

What I Did Not Recant or Abandon

Dear Deborah, This has been an amazing week. The book came out on March 2 and immediately was the best-selling education policy book on Amazon.com. Its wonderful reception is due not to any unusual talent or insight of my own, but to the fact that what I am saying resonates with teachers, administr...

March 02, 2010

Today Is Publication Day

Dear Deborah, At last! Over the course of our three years of blogging together, I have been writing a book, as you know. Today is publication day for The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. The title is a conscious echo of Jane Jacob...

February 25, 2010

Divided We Fail

Dear Diane, How did we let "them" pit so many good people against each other? Maybe it's just New York City? Parents, teachers, and kids are fighting each other over who is invading whose turf, who belongs, who is an insider vs. an outsider. A busload of mothers goes to Albany on behalf of charters...

February 23, 2010

The Problem With Charters

Dear Deborah, Last week, I warned that the explosive growth of charter schools would lead to financial and political scandals, as greedy entrepreneurs and unprincipled speculators discover the riches ripe for the picking. A reader challenged me, and I offer as the latest (but not the only) evidence...

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