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New Education Week Commentary Blogger Knows His Law and Education

Education Week welcomes a new commentary blogger this week who knows a thing or two about school law and education policy.

James E. Ryan is the dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a former law professor at the University of Virginia. He has written widely on education policy and has taken an advocate's role in some school cases.

As a news source for me multiple times over the years, Ryan has always gone out of his way to be helpful and to explain some complicated concepts.

Ryan's blog for Education Week is called Making the Case: Key Questions in Education Debates. He explains in his first post his view about the importance of formulating and asking the right questions.

Ryan was a law clerk to the late U.S. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. In the post, he explains how he spent some of his time as a law clerk watching oral arguments, and he reveals his belief that Justice John Paul Stevens was the best questioner on the court.

(Having covered the Supreme Court for more than 20 years now, I concur that Stevens, who retired in 2010, was the sharpest questioner. He would wait until an argument was well along before politely interrupting the lawyer before him: "May I ask a question?" He would then go in for the kill with a question that neatly got to the heart of the case.)

Ryan explains in his post that in his view, "there are not enough people asking good questions about education practice and policy. ... My only agenda ... is to ask questions in a way that I hope will spark more honest conversations and productive debates about some key topics in education."

So, welcome to the Education Week blog roster, James. Ask away.

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