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February 11, 2010

A Climate of False Crisis

Dear Diane, Leisure is an essential ingredient for a successful working democracy. We need time to think and unbundle some of the contradictions by which we live. If "elitism" is wrong for charters, why is it okay for public schools? Why do we presume that poor kids need a more rigid and authoritar...

February 09, 2010

Two Types of Superintendent

Dear Deborah, As I watch events across the nation, I have concluded that district leadership today falls into one of two varieties. On one hand is the traditional superintendent, who believes that he is responsible for the schools and students in his care. He visits the schools often and consults ...

February 02, 2010

Closing Schools Solves Nothing

Dear Deborah, Last week, the New York City Department of Education pushed through a decision to close 19 high schools. With the encouragement of the "Race to the Top," we will surely see similar closings across the nation, hundreds or perhaps thousands of them. Entrepreneurs cheer when public scho...

January 07, 2010

Keep Your Eyes on the Money

Dear Diane, Do we hope our children leave school placing truth above money? Good ideas over "the Race to the Top"? Or, that they just "follow the money"? Recently, Laura Pappano wrote in The New York Times about a new world of jobs in education: " education leadership jobs: running charter ...

January 05, 2010

The New Era of Greed

Editor's note: Bridging Differences returns today after a two-week holiday break. Dear Deborah, I want to wish you and our readers—and most especially our editors at Education Week!—a happy, healthy New Year. The times are challenging indeed, and all of us should try to be as kind as p...

December 17, 2009

The 'Alternative?' Transparency & Honest Data

Dear Diane, Time to rest up and maybe start 2010 in a more hopeful mood. I just put down an article in The New Yorker by Atul Gawande entitled "Testing, Testing." But it's not about schooling, but medical tests. The author is a doctor at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and grew up in Athens ...

December 15, 2009

The Race to Nowhere

Dear Deborah, I understand why you were taken aback by that article in the "Style" section of The New York Times last week that described how charter schools have become a must-have among hedge-fund managers, billionaires, and other members of the social elite in New York City. The article bothere...

December 10, 2009

What Do Charter Schools Do Better?

Dear Diane, I know you saw this article in last Sunday's New York Times. " 'You get the religion fast.' "Mr. Petry, 38, and Mr. Greenblatt, 52, may spend their days poring over spreadsheets and overseeing trades, but their obsession—one shared with many other hedge funders—is creati...

December 08, 2009

Obama and Duncan Launch NCLB 2.0

Dear Deborah, We promised to keep a close watch on what is happening at the federal level, and now it begins to get interesting. And a bit scary, if you care about the future of public education. The U.S. Department of Education announced its plan to spend at least $3.5 billion to push local offi...

December 03, 2009

Where Do We Go From Here?

Dear Diane, A powerful statement which ought to be sent to everyone in a position to influence policy and legislation! Thanks. I just read a letter from Steve Jubb, an Oakland-based colleague of mine: "For my part, I agree with Kenneth Bernstein's blog post some days ago. We have inherited a for...

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