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February 16, 2010

Conflicts of Interest and the Race to the Top

Dear Deborah, It is not surprising that the Race to the Top has generated enormous buzz among educators since it dangles $4.3 billion to states that do what the U.S. Department of Education wants them to do. Now President Obama has announced that he is so pleased with the response to the Race that ...

February 02, 2010

Closing Schools Solves Nothing

Dear Deborah, Last week, the New York City Department of Education pushed through a decision to close 19 high schools. With the encouragement of the "Race to the Top," we will surely see similar closings across the nation, hundreds or perhaps thousands of them. Entrepreneurs cheer when public scho...

January 14, 2010

Redefining Achievement

Dear Diane, Thanks you for that deft summary on charters! Once we forget the public purposes of education, it's easier and easier to forget about the defects of the marketplace as a way to address the common good. One of the concerns raised about the schools I founded was that such schools bred se...

January 12, 2010

The Secrets of Charter School Success

Dear Deborah, In my new book, coming out in early March,* I devote a chapter to examining the research about choice from a historical perspective. Leave aside vouchers for now, and let's look at charters, which are all the rage among the movers and shakers, including President Obama, Secretary Dunc...

January 05, 2010

The New Era of Greed

Editor's note: Bridging Differences returns today after a two-week holiday break. Dear Deborah, I want to wish you and our readers—and most especially our editors at Education Week!—a happy, healthy New Year. The times are challenging indeed, and all of us should try to be as kind as p...

December 10, 2009

What Do Charter Schools Do Better?

Dear Diane, I know you saw this article in last Sunday's New York Times. " 'You get the religion fast.' "Mr. Petry, 38, and Mr. Greenblatt, 52, may spend their days poring over spreadsheets and overseeing trades, but their obsession—one shared with many other hedge funders—is creati...

December 08, 2009

Obama and Duncan Launch NCLB 2.0

Dear Deborah, We promised to keep a close watch on what is happening at the federal level, and now it begins to get interesting. And a bit scary, if you care about the future of public education. The U.S. Department of Education announced its plan to spend at least $3.5 billion to push local offi...

December 01, 2009

Why Business Leaders Should Not Be in the Driver's Seat

Dear Deborah, I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for in this wonderful country. I am forever thankful that my mother came to this country after World War I (from Bessarabia), and that my paternal grandparents came to this country in the mid-19th Century (from Poland). ...

November 16, 2009

Obama and Duncan Are Wrong About Charters

Dear Deborah, The legislators who passed the Elementary and Secondary Act in 1965 repeatedly assured their colleagues and the American public that the federal government would never interfere with state and local control of schools. The purpose of the law was clear: To provide additional funding to...

September 10, 2009

On the Art of Listening to Each Other

Dear Diane, I’m in the midst of reading a marvelous book by Danielle Allen called Talking to Strangers. I’d love to discuss it with others. Do read it so we can converse about it soon. Her concept of “political friendships” between strangers intrigues me. Which relates to my unpleasant enc...

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