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Today marks the one-year anniversary of eduwonkette's bold entry into blogging about education. A lot has happened here over the past year, across 487 different posts, and thousands and thousands of comments. (Heck, back then, eduwonk and eduwonkette were BFF.)
eduwonkette has tackled a remarkably diverse set of education policy issues: teacher quality, No Child Left Behind, gender differences in academic performance, myths about small schools, New York City's School Progress Reports, the "it's being done/no excuses" argument, the achievement gap and "acting white", value-added assessment, choice, incentives, unions ... the list goes on and on. And she's done it all with great style and wit, first with and now without the mask.
Today is an opportunity to revisit the principles that brought her to the blogging world:
Are you tired of listening to the usual suspects on education policy? So am I. Education policy debates are dominated by a small number of very loud voices. In these debates, ideological claims, rather than research, data, the experience of educators, and common sense, are wielded as weapons. What are some of the problems I see with these debates?
• A selective reading of educational research: The loudest outlets pick and choose which studies are relevant, often leading to a skewed view of what we know and don’t know about how to improve schools.
• An inattention to the costs and benefits of policies: Policy solutions are endorsed as if they have no downside. But we know that all actions have positive and negative consequences. The education policy debate would benefit from such an acknowledgement.
• A fundamental disrespect for the knowledge of teachers and principals who work in public schools: Too often, teachers and administrators are dismissed as “self-interested” or “protecting the status quo” when they question what policymakers wreak on their classrooms and schools. In no other profession are we willing to discount the opinions of those closest to the work at hand. Education should be no different.
Rather than stepping into this ideological boxing ring, this blog takes a different approach.
And so she has. Happy anniversary, eduwonkette!