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February 07, 2008

Teachers and the Choices They've Always Had

Dear Diane, Agreed. It would be foolhardy to dismiss any data out of hand. Agreed also: There is stuff imbedded in these international studies that we can learn from. In fact, on the whole, the data goes against the current wave of top-down test-based reforms. (On a side note: the potential for...

February 05, 2008

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Dear Deborah, I have read the reports of the international assessments over the years and think it would be foolhardy to dismiss them out of hand. The professionals who create them and administer them have no axe to grind; they don’t get bonuses if the scores go up or down. They are scrupulous ab...

January 29, 2008

Cash for Scores

Dear Deborah, In the past, say, a century or so ago, school reformers used "democracy" as the magic word. Whatever they were doing, whether it was imposing vocational tracking in the new junior high schools or using IQ tests to sort students for their future occupations, the reformers said that it...

January 22, 2008

Our Terrific Readers

Dear Deb, You and I disagree on some very basic issues involving curriculum and testing, but we are in agreement on some other very basic issues, such as the public nature of public education and the stupidity of replacing instruction with a testing regime. What you describe is the mindset of the b...

January 17, 2008

Sneaking In IQ Testing for 5-Year-Olds

Dear Diane, Like the distinguished panel of assessment experts whom Commissioner Mills called in to examine it wrote—the old CPESS model was a promising beginning. We had much work to be done if others were to follow suit. Instead others were discouraged and finally prohibited from doing so...

January 15, 2008

The Underlying Issues

Dear Deb, Your description of CPESS and other Coalition schools sounds like a memory from a distant past. Education is now in the grips of a very different mindset, one that seeks to turn schools into businesses or to use business as a model for success in education. Test scores have become the co...

January 08, 2008

Grading Schools

Editor's note: Bridging Differences returns today from its holiday break with this entry from Diane Ravitch. Dear Deb, Let's talk about grading schools and about when it is appropriate to close schools. It seems that the accountability idea has become the overrriding passion in American education...

December 13, 2007

Standards and a Peculiarly 'American' Problem

Dear Diane, “Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a Republican who represents western Michigan's culturally cohesive Dutch Calvinist communities, opposed NCLB from the start because he thought it would 'tear apart the bond between the schools and the local communities'… He thinks accountability belongs at the ...

December 11, 2007

The Value of Standards

Dear Deb, I don’t understand why you are so certain that any state or national standards are beyond consensus, or that they will be entirely arbitrary. You also think that it would be politically and technically impossible to agree on what students should know. I don’t agree. I don’t think ...

December 06, 2007

The Fallout from Testing

Dear Diane, There's a streak of naivete about you that is both delightful and infuriating! The notion that we have come to a consensus on what constitutes the well-educated 8-, 12- or 18-year-old, on what body of facts and scientific truth we all agree is essential, and finally that we have a way ...

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