September 2008 Archives

Dear Deborah, You were a great partner in our debate last week in Washington, where the two of us—accustomed to differing—sparred with former governor of Colorado Roy Romer (who now chairs the group ED in ’08) and Jon Schnur (the founder of New Leaders for New Schools). I think we surprised everyone, perhaps even ourselves, by arguing in opposition to the idea that there should be a larger federal role in education in the future. Our joint position was that the federal government should have a larger role in providing pre-kindergarten, after-school programs, nutrition, and healthcare, but should...


Dear Diane, What a week we’ve been through—full of lessons about accountability as it’s practiced in the world of high finance. NYC’s grading policy is indeed embarrassing, Diane. Had they used test experts—like Daniel Koretz—they might have invented something better. But no single grade, even a smart one, can avoid giving data a bad name. Even in the hands of wise and knowledgeable teachers, summing up an individual kid by an A-F never works well, for many of the same reasons. It’s why schools like ours—CPE, Mission Hill—develop tools ...


Dear Deborah, I heard from a friend who attended the New York state Senate hearing where you testified. He said you were outstanding. Just last week, the New York City Department of Education released its “report cards” for the schools. Every school was assigned a single letter grade from A to F; this was the second year that grades have been released. Fully 80 percent of the city’s schools got an A or a B, and 18 got an F (last year, 50 schools were graded F). Mayor Michael Bloomberg, not surprisingly, said that the large number of A’s...


Dear Diane, Today (Thursday) I hope to appear at the New York state hearings on NYC’s school governance system. Last week I spent a few days in D.C. listening to my colleagues discuss dropout rates at a congressional briefing. It was organized by the Alliance for Excellence and the Forum for Education and Democracy. Common themes kept arising, along the lines of your last letter and mine. By the way, I’m happy to learn that the mayor’s plan for NYC was misstated in The New York Times. Five to 7-year-olds will be summed up and compared ...


Dear Deborah, You raise important questions about the role of trust and community in schooling. Those issues should be front and center as part of the discussion of the future of public education. We should discuss further whether trust and community are advanced by preserving and strengthening neighborhood schools or by encouraging the growth of choice schools, by charters and vouchers. Certainly, a case can be made for both routes. The neighborhood school has always been an important center of community. It brings together people from disparate walks of life who are neighbors and gives them a place in which ...


Dear Diane, I'm not entirely ducking it—just partly. I'm also getting at it in a circuitous way! Of course, at heart, I am struggling to understand the American "people." I know I am hopelessly out of the loop, although I keep circling around for common threads. The enthusiasm for Sarah Palin is a case in point. How can I simultaneously want to keep more, not less, power in the hands of the same public that might elect a pair like McCain/Palin? And, they aren't by any means the worst we might do. I'll feel better about the public...


Dear Deborah, I read your “advice to the next president” with interest. It would be wonderful if our next president could figure out how to ensure that “schools for the poor…look and feel like the schools the wealthiest send their kids to”? Let’s see, first he would propose a school construction fund to modernize school facilities. Then he might propose class-size reduction to the level that is typical at schools like Phillips Andover or Exeter (12 students per class?). And then there is the list of social programs, like good health care and nutrition. This tracks fairly well ...


Dear Diane, I'm always astounded when summer is over. How did it get by me so fast? Of course, in the past few years I don't get plunged back into the three-ring circus of schooling so suddenly. But, oddly, I miss that plunge. Among other reasons because it meant I had no time for worrying about presidential elections, climate change, the gasoline crisis, poverty, torture, nuclear proliferation and, at the moment, about my current bout of Lyme disease. I've gotten phone calls, as I'm sure you have, too, Diane, asking me what kind of advice I'd give the two presidential ...


Bridging Differences returns today with this entry from Diane Ravitch. Dear Deborah, Welcome back from vacation. School is open, and it’s time to start bridging differences. Let’s see what we can do to clarify the deep undercurrents in American politics that are changing what happens in the schoolhouse, and, in some cases, seem likely to change the very nature of the schoolhouse. In my historical studies, I have usually found that the public debates about schooling may be heated, but teaching and learning change glacially. This has always been a source of frustration to reformers, whether they are ...


Advertisement

Most Viewed on Education Week

Categories

Archives

Recent Comments

  • hertfordshire security installers: Greetings. Great content. Have you got an rss I could read more
  • http://blog.outsystems.com/aboutagility/2009/04/challenges-of-scoping-and-sizing-agile-projects.html: I would like to thank you for the efforts you've read more
  • http://acousticwood.net/mash/2008/03/yeah_off_to_the_uk.html: Between me and my husband we've owned more MP3 players read more
  • buy cheap metin2 yang: When you play the game, you really think you equipment read more
  • Nev: Anne Clark - If a Dr. instructs a patient that read more