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November 25, 2008

Good Intentions, Ignorant Elites, and Scoundrels

Dear Deborah, We live in a dangerous and dark time for schools. In many districts, the gears of power are controlled by non-educators who don't have a clue. They madly embrace testing and data and data-driven instruction because they have not a single idea about how kids learn and how teachers tea...

November 20, 2007

Schools Are Not in a True Marketplace

Dear Deborah, It was interesting that you used the analogy to Consumer Reports to discuss the value of grading schools. As a longtime subscriber to CR, I understand that it is useful to have a disinterested voice evaluating the products in the marketplace. To make sure that there is never a confli...

October 11, 2007

No Foolproof Measures of Success

Dear Diane, Did you read The New York Times Magazine piece called "Do We Really Know What Makes Us Healthy?" by Gary Taubes? Or the follow-up on Oct. 9 in the Times Science Section by John Tierney? Medicine (and nutrition) have all the odds in their favor vs. education when it comes to being "sci...

July 18, 2007

Trust and transparency

Dear Diane, The level of trust required for any society to sort of work is an interesting question. Because you are surely right that we cannot literally check out everything we're told in the media. What I tend to do is trust the data on matters about which I have profound ignorance, and be skep...

July 12, 2007

Who 'owns' charter schools?

Dear Deb, You raise important questions about the trustworthiness of the data that government agencies release. I would hope that every math course, not just advanced courses, would teach students how numbers can be interpreted in different ways for different purposes. I have always thought that o...

July 09, 2007

Honest information and democracy

Dear Diane, The disturbing comments in your final paragraph deserve a wide audience. It is always hard to know when we are being alarmists, and when we are understating a dangerous trend. Maybe schools were once less worrisome because they simply played a much smaller role in our lives and life i...

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