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September 05, 2007

Back to School with Trepidation

Dear Deb, Yup, back-to-school time. I too get that funny feeling in the pit of my stomach, especially when I find myself wandering the aisles of a stationery store, looking at spiral notebooks, pens, and the other accoutrements of starting school and hearing the voice in my head saying that it is t...

September 04, 2007

A New School Year Begins

Editor's note: After a month-long break, Bridging Differences returns today with this entry by Deborah Meier. Dear Diane, Summer's over. For 70 years I've approached this time of year with school in mind. With unrealistically high expectations and joy. And a knot in the pit of my stomach. I w...

July 06, 2007

The role of the media

Dear Deb, The promise of this blog “Bridging Differences” was that (is that?) we would acknowledge our disagreements and from time to time discover issues where we agree. We aim to keep that promise! This is an issue—spotting the nonsense and naming it—where we are on the same page...

July 02, 2007

Distorting data

Dear Deb, Now that our mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is readying himself as a potential candidate for the Presidency, it is clear that education will be one of his signature issues. Sadly, he knows no more about education today than he did when he became mayor in 2001, based on his latest plan to pay ...

June 22, 2007

Substituting Pay for Passion

Dear Deb, Apparently your trip to China has in no way dimmed your energy or your imagination. Imagine filing two pieces almost instantly! What knowledge is of most worth? I don't think we would answer the question very differently. Despite some argumentativeness around the margins, we agree on "h...

June 15, 2007

Test scores and quicksand

Dear Deb, Your trip sounds wonderful, fascinating, and even worth the physical stress. I didn't mention it before, but after my trip to China in 1998, I became quite ill as a direct result of an 18-hour flight. Of course, stuff happens here, too. Last week, I was supposedly flying from Raleigh-Dur...

May 18, 2007

What kind of testing is best?

Deb, You will not be surprised to learn that I agree with you about the value of a road test for licensing future drivers. If you can't actually operate a car with safety and confidence, then you should not be licensed to drive, no matter how well you score on the written exam. As it happens, ma...

May 11, 2007

Treasuring Stubborn Interest

Dear Diane, I was speaking in North Carolina recently. In describing Central Park East's "Five Habits of Mind" I used, as an example of the "what if" habit: "Supposing we had lost the Civil War"—A lady in front of me laughed and said, "but we did". Thus proving the value of another "habit of...

May 09, 2007

Should Data Matter?

Dear Deb, As you know, Mark Twain (or Disraeli or someone) once wrote that there are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics. Everyone in education, or so it seems, has learned how to present them in ways that bolsters whatever they want to do. Either, the sky is falling, or things ha...

May 07, 2007

Campbell's Law and testing

Dear Diane, I've also been pondering how we could resolve some of our disagreements about national testing—without necessarily resolving our differences on curriculum! Thanks for trying to word it succinctly (less than 500 words!). My response is twice as long, alas. But I wanted to approa...

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