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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 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 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 04, 2010

It's Not Too Late...Probably

Dear Diane, They say the best reason for studying history is that it helps you see that the future is still a work in progress. And your new book—The Death and Life of the Great American School System—is an important step toward moving forward. Your clarity and quiet passion, I'm happy ...

February 04, 2010

Why Isn't the 'Mother of Small Schools' Feeling Smug?

Dear Diane, Funny you should ask, Diane. Yes, I am still a sort-of supporter of small schools—within the right context. I came across a big, heavy award from 2004 called The Small Schools Award: "In honor of your support, in a bold way and over the long haul of small schools that educate o...

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...

December 03, 2009

Where Do We Go From Here?

Dear Diane, A powerful statement which ought to be sent to everyone in a position to influence policy and legislation! Thanks. I just read a letter from Steve Jubb, an Oakland-based colleague of mine: "For my part, I agree with Kenneth Bernstein's blog post some days ago. We have inherited a for...

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...

September 09, 2009

The Start of an Interesting and Dangerous School Year

Editor's Note: Bridging Differences returns today from its summer hiatus. The blog will resume its regular Tuesday-Thursday publishing schedule next week. Dear Deborah, School is open, and it is time to talk! What a busy summer for all of us who care about education. I had a good summer, finis...

June 18, 2009

Charters, Performance Pay, & Serious Trade-Offs

Dear Diane, Yes, it seems so obvious to you and me. Using their metrics, the boosters of mayoral control can hardly point to any trend that supports their claims. On NAEP data, the two biggie mayoral control cities show no change, and on graduation data, NYC shows some improvement, but Chicago show...

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