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June 21, 2012

Letter From Cape Town

The children in these townships attend government-funded and -operated schools. That is, they seem to have four walls and a roof, and very little else. No books—except textbooks of a sort for older children and workbooks for young ones. When I think of all the books we regularly toss out in New York City schools it gives me chills.

March 29, 2012

So Much Policy Talk

How much can schools—under the best of circumstances—affect young people's lives and drives? In many ways I've spent 50 years exploring the answer to that.

February 14, 2012

Desperate Times in Cleveland and Ohio

The leaders of one of the most economically depressed and racially segregated cities in the nation have decided that the answer to its problems is to fire teachers, close public schools, expand the number of charters, and possibly to expand the voucher program as well.

February 07, 2012

Getting Real About Turnarounds

The turnaround approach assumes that it is bad principals and bad teachers who stand in the way of school improvement.

January 26, 2012

It's the Economy ...

I'm not regretting having spent 50 years trying to reform American public education, and I think it's more imperative today than ever. But the future doesn't depend on it the way it does on our economic crisis, our political system crisis, and our planetary self-destruction.

January 05, 2012

What Disparities in Wealth Say About Society

But what kind of society allows such disparities based on one and only one special "talent"—the talent some have for handling money? The ability to take financial advantage of his/her good luck?

December 13, 2011

Scrooge and School Reform

Ladd suggests that what is needed are positive policy interventions, such as early-childhood and pre-school programs; school-based health clinics and social services; after school programs and summer programs; and paying more attention to inputs such as school quality and school processes.

December 08, 2011

Are All Choices a Choice?

If charters had stuck to their original selling point—the need for innovation on a small, less-regulated scale before we mandated it on a large scale—there'd be a few grumbles and otherwise just curiosity.

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.

December 01, 2011

Getting From Here to There

In a world in which the money some folks earn in a day is more than what others hope to earn in a year, a decade, a lifetime, it's hard to calculate likelihoods. Even the word "earn" is problematic.

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