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Introducing Julian Vasquez Heilig

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This blog began as a dialogue with Michelle Rhee—an outspoken advocate for school reform. Despite our many disagreements, Michelle and I agreed to write about educational change together, believing that a more substantive and nuanced dialogue would serve the public interest. And for ten weeks we blogged together about pressing K-12 policy issues.

The experiment, as I later wrote, wasn't perfect. As I noted in the aftermath, it felt at times like the title of the blog should be changed. Still, it was a good faith effort, encouraging enough to warrant further exploration. And I still believe in the mission statement that Michelle and I wrote at the onset of our discussion.

After a summer recess, I decided to invite a new conversation partner to jump in, hoping that we might go even further in unpacking the overheated rhetoric that swirls around our public schools. And it seemed to make sense to invite someone with a perspective different from Michelle's—an opponent of reform, rather than one of its champions.

Julian Vasquez Heilig was a natural choice. An award-winning researcher and teacher, Julian is also a vocal critic of reform with a strong public presence and a highly-trafficked blog. And though I am a reform critic myself, Julian and I take different positions on some key issues—positions worth teasing out over the next two months.

So tune in next week, when we begin our conversation with a headlong dive into the issue of charter schools. It should be fun.

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