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May 14, 2009

Schools Need Accountability Consistent with Democracy

You and I, Diane, want an intellectually feisty citizenry, and that’s what we don’t offer the poor.

May 07, 2009

Why Not Strengthen the NAEP as a Tool for Seeing Trends?

Dear Diane, I think it’s unlikely that the fans of mayoral control are open to persuasion. But thanks, Diane, for relentlessly pursuing them. We’re in for lots of nonsense in the name of reform. Arne Duncan is planning a contest for a new name to replace the unpopular No Child Left Behind. I...

April 30, 2009

Test Scores and Reinforcing the Wrong Connections

Dear Diane, The good news is that most of the American people haven’t lost their common sense. And, above all, those closest to “the action”—parents, teachers, kids, and their families, plus a majority of those who work closely with schools or are “students” of schooling—haven...

April 28, 2009

Can Better Teachers Close the Achievement Gap?

Dear Deb, A new report by McKinsey & Co., the management consultants, came out last week, and it is worthy of our attention. The report was released at a press conference in Washington, D.C., by NYC Chancellor Joel Klein and the Reverend Al Sharpton. The McKinsey report acknowledges their "signif...

April 21, 2009

What's Wrong With Merit Pay

Dear Deborah, Over time we have developed a very solid and smart community of readers who like to argue with us and with each other. That is as it should be. And of course we need to bridge differences—or disagree—with them, too, as we do with each other. So the subject today is merit...

March 12, 2009

Thoughts on a National Curriculum

Dear Diane, So we’re back at the thorniest issue—a national curriculum. The kind of “set” curriculum I like is one proposed and supported by the constituents of a particular school—like ours at Mission Hill or CPE/CPESS. Although, even ours was probably not sufficiently detailed...

March 03, 2009

What About 21st Century Skills?

Dear Deborah, Since you brought up the subject of “21st Century skills,” it seemed like an opportune time to talk a bit about this subject. A week ago, I participated in a panel discussion on this topic, sponsored by an organization called Common Core in Washington, D.C.. Common Core was cre...

February 19, 2009

We Need Schools That 'Train' Our Judgment

Dear Diane, Thanks for “nailing” Nicholas Kristof. Another very well-meaning ally. With friends like Kristof we... . Kristof ought to read Rothstein et al more carefully on the complexity of the relationship between the economy and schooling. The lapse between schooling data and economic data ...

February 17, 2009

The Miracle Teacher, Revisited

Dear Deborah, I was about to move on to a new topic but on Sunday read a column in The New York Times by Nicholas Kristof titled "Our Greatest National Shame." Well, as you must surely realize, it is American education that is "our greatest national shame." Kristof says that "...we do know that th...

February 12, 2009

How Do We Start a Discussion About What It Is We Value?

Dear Diane, You ask: why are people so gullible? That includes both the writers and readers of our media. (Or should I say listeners?) Many reasons, no doubt, including a natural inclination to believe there is some way to know what’s happening out there in the big world, and gullibility is perh...

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