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December 06, 2011

Do You Believe in Miracles?

There are no silver bullets in education. There are no magic feathers that enable elephants like Dumbo to fly. It's hard work to improve schools. It takes dedication, resources, and time. And the work is never done, the magic number of 100 percent is always out of reach.

April 12, 2011

Vouchers Make a Comeback, But Why?

That last argument is the one that really moves policymakers in these tough fiscal times. Imagine that: voucher schools may not educate kids better, but they can do the job at half the cost. That's powerful, and it reveals what matters most these days: not improving education, not encouraging creativity and innovation, but cutting costs.

November 23, 2010

12th Grade NAEP Scores Are Meaningless

the SAT, the ACT, the end-of-course exams, the AP exams, and graduation exams, the NAEP tests don't matter. And seniors know it. They doodle on their test papers, or they select answers with a pattern, like all B, or all C, or ABCD/ABCD.

October 26, 2010

Demonizing Public Education

The film "Waiting for 'Superman'" offers a one-sided and contemptuous view of public education, Diane Ravitch writes.

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...

April 13, 2010

Meager Gains on NAEP Reading Assessments

Dear Deborah, In my book I argue that No Child Left Behind was a failed strategy. We both know the reasons why. It narrowed the curriculum; it introduced a culture of testing and test prepping into the nation's schools; it represented an unprecedented extension of federal control into the nation's...

September 24, 2009

Why School? Rethinking Essentials

Dear Diane, We can go on forever about why "testing as we know it" cannot lead to becoming a well-educated people. We agree, we need to invent a road test—which might in some cases look like AP exams. Or, it might look like the examination system used at Central Park East Secondary School or ...

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...

June 11, 2009

Let's Explore How NAEP Could be Better Used

Dear Diane, Thanks for being there at the venerable old Julia Richman high school building last week, Diane. So many old friends, some new ones, and a nice net profit for FairTest—the little David facing the Harcourts, McGraws, ETS's, et al Goliaths that sponsored the event. Actually, Diane, ...

June 09, 2009

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Dear Deborah, I enjoyed seeing you honored as a hero of education by FairTest last week, which established an annual award named for you. If anyone had told me five years ago that I would be at that event, I would have thought them mad. This is what “Bridging Differences” has done for me, I sup...

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