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November 03, 2009

Should Teacher Evaluation Depend on Student Test Scores?

Dear Deborah, What a lovely tribute to Ted Sizer! I did not know Ted nearly as well as you did, but I admired him very much. He was very much the gentleman, and truly a gentle man. I had many disagreements with Jerry Bracey over the years; he was not gentle at all. Nonetheless, it is sad that thes...

October 29, 2009

Remembering Ted Sizer

Dear Diane, I have been feeling sad during the past month. First came awareness that the health of an old colleague of mine has moved into its final stages. When she joined us at CPE 32 years ago, she was the first person my age to be my colleague. It was nice not to be a mother or mentor to someon...

October 27, 2009

What Does the Best and Wisest Parent Want?

Dear Deborah, Well, I certainly agree with you that all kids should have the quality of education now available only for students in the best schools. Given how much our nation spends on education, this should not be a pipe dream, but we know that it is not happening and has not happened in the pa...

October 22, 2009

What Works for Rich Kids Works for All Kids

Dear Diane, We've got to stop agreeing so much! I can't wait to read your new book so I can go into "attack mode" again. I always wonder, however, whether our disagreements are "fundamental" or based on our very different entries into the world of schooling. I think it's a bit of both. Your view t...

October 20, 2009

Does Merit Pay Make Sense?

Dear Deborah, It is a good idea to explore the separate elements of the federal education agenda, one by one. Merit pay, the first issue you raise, now stands high among the priorities of the Obama administration as it did for the Bush administration and as it has for the Republican Party and busin...

October 15, 2009

Is What's Good for CEOs Good for Teachers?

Dear Diane, Let's explore, one by one, the separate elements of the federal education agenda, Diane. Are they based on reason and evidence or ignorance and irrationality? (I could have asked myself the same thing about our differences regarding the trade-offs and risks involved in a national curric...

October 01, 2009

The Habits of Using Evidence & Reason Can't Wait

Dear Diane, "To the extent that we can teach students to seek evidence and rational explanations, we will reduce magical thinking and encourage the application of reason and intelligence." —Diane Ravitch, Bridging Differences, Sept. 29 We agree! That's my "core." We also agree that Arne Dun...

June 30, 2009

A Worthy Proposal for State Inspection Teams

Dear Deborah, The current effort to develop national standards in English and math is something to which we will surely pay close attention. I understand that you reject consequential curricular decisions made outside the school, but my view is that “it depends.” That's my view of lots of thing...

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...

May 28, 2009

Civil Rights and Democracy are Inseparable

Dear Diane, I got a few blasts for the comments you liked on Klein/Sharpton/Gingrich’s (EEP) civil rights efforts. It hit a nerve. Our obsession with schools is both a healthy and an unhealthy aspect of the American psyche. This is, at least, the second time we’ve placed schools at the center o...

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