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September 22, 2009

The NCLB Paradox Enters the Twilight Zone

Dear Deborah, Over the past week, you and I have each weighed in on the defects of testing. You have been arguing for many years that standardized testing is replete with flaws. I have only recently recognized the ways in which pressure to raise scores, mainly prompted by NCLB, has corrupted testin...

September 17, 2009

We're Relying on an Absurd Definition of Achievement

Dear Diane, Yes, the ways in which standardized bubble-in tests are open to abuse are rampant—and gaming of test scores has increasingly important repercussions. In the long run it leads to an increasingly toxic education in the name of “standards.” I urge you to read the two chapters in ...

September 15, 2009

The Secret of Success and High Test Scores

Editor's note: See author's "P.S." added since entry was first published. I will have to delay a bit before I can get to the book you recommended. When I finished "Daniel Deronda," I immediately plunged into Robert Caro's wonderful biography of Robert Moses, "The Power Broker," which I am enjoying...

July 02, 2009

The Emperor Wears No Clothes

Dear Diane, I don’t even trust myself to write standards (of the sort that can be specs for tests) for one school, one district, one state—much less the whole nation! I’m bound to have a better idea a week later. And, given those who are considered the experts these days on matters of sc...

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

The Data Game

Dear Deborah, Ah, data. A new study from the Center on Education Policy finds that state tests scores have been rising steadily since the passage of NCLB. But the report is based only on state tests, which are notoriously unreliable and even invalid because of the test-prepping that every district ...

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...

June 04, 2009

Test Results Are Not a Good Stand-In for Achievement

Dear Diane, You are right. We agree on the civil rights movement’s history. Schools were never the primary focus—but one of many interconnected ones. The connection between schooling and the economy interests me—but for different reasons than the usual PR-linkage (you’ll make mor...

May 26, 2009

Why Education Is Not the Civil Rights Issue of Our Time

Dear Deborah, I was glad to read your comments on the faux-Education Equality Project (EEP), now headed by New York City’s Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and the Reverend Al Sharpton, with the assistance of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The papers used to call Klein and Sharpton the odd coup...

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