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May 25, 2010

Just Say No to the Race to the Top

Dear Deborah, As I have traveled the country, from Boston to Los Angeles and points in between, I have met thousands of teachers who work in our nation's public schools. The overwhelming mood is one of demoralization, and, in some cases, despair. They thought that President Obama would break free f...

May 20, 2010

Change the Conversation on Teaching

Dear Diane, Reading The New York Times Magazine pieces on medicine is always intriguing. Education and medicine are often compared—in ways that remind me how little our frame for considering teaching is realistic. The other night I heard several very good "educators" on C-SPAN answering quest...

May 13, 2010

Charters & Their Shallow Community Roots

Dear Diane, That was an amazing and surprising find re. Milwaukee charters. I thought that at the very least they'd get the advantage of being in a more diverse (integrated) setting with more middle-class kids and that being chosen (even by lottery) would produce a kind of halo effect. Why it didn'...

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...

April 27, 2010

Should Student Scores Be Used To Evaluate Teachers?

Dear Deborah, I am just back from travels that started in Boston, moved on to Chicago, then to Los Angeles and San Francisco. This week I will be in Dallas and Denver. Wherever I go, I meet many teachers who say virtually the same thing: They have never been more demoralized in their professional ...

April 22, 2010

Imagine Standards for the Common Good

Dear Diane, Last Saturday's event—"Remapping Progressive Education"—was great. Someone remarked as I went into the auditorium to start the first session that they felt they had died and gone to heaven—seeing all their old colleagues from so many years ago. But there were far more ...

April 20, 2010

The Lesson of Florida

Dear Deborah, As I write this, I am concluding a week of book-touring, and what a week it has been! I started in Chicago, where I spoke at DePaul University, the University of Illinois, Catalyst, and the National School Boards Association. At NSBA, I was in a concurrent session, but well over 1,00...

April 15, 2010

Schools: Too Big To Fail

Dear Diane, I wish you were going to be with us this Saturday as we celebrate the work we have accomplished over the past half-century and figure out how to counter the latest onslaught. Our friend teacherken quotes Les Leopold's question in his recent blog. "Why Are 25 Hedge Fund Managers Worth 6...

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...

April 08, 2010

Until We Take Democracy Seriously...

Dear Diane, Here's an essential question: When trying to get at the truth of things, what role do data play? Most of the time our "habits" take over before we can exercise any form of reflective judgment (which is why John Dewey focused on "habits of mind" as the goal of good schools). Habits are s...

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