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September 11, 2007

Reconsidering My Views

Dear Deb, I hope we are not disappointing our readers by agreeing more than we disagree. I think I am letting down my part of the bargain by agreeing with you so often, but our areas of convergence became clear from the first time that we sat together almost a year ago to talk about our views about...

September 07, 2007

The Dangers Facing Us

Dear Diane, I enjoyed (and agreed with) practically every word in your last letter. And I identified with your grief over Molly, too. I sometimes think I'm exaggerating the dangers facing us—and then I read the Daily News about math scores and think I'm maybe not worrying enough! More on t...

September 05, 2007

Back to School with Trepidation

Dear Deb, Yup, back-to-school time. I too get that funny feeling in the pit of my stomach, especially when I find myself wandering the aisles of a stationery store, looking at spiral notebooks, pens, and the other accoutrements of starting school and hearing the voice in my head saying that it is t...

July 06, 2007

The role of the media

Dear Deb, The promise of this blog “Bridging Differences” was that (is that?) we would acknowledge our disagreements and from time to time discover issues where we agree. We aim to keep that promise! This is an issue—spotting the nonsense and naming it—where we are on the same page...

July 02, 2007

Distorting data

Dear Deb, Now that our mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is readying himself as a potential candidate for the Presidency, it is clear that education will be one of his signature issues. Sadly, he knows no more about education today than he did when he became mayor in 2001, based on his latest plan to pay ...

June 27, 2007

Reality check

Dear Deb, Sometimes I feel that we are having a discussion that is way too theoretical, while the world of American education is moving hard and fast in completely different directions. You may be comfortable with a school where the kids spend four years on biology, or four years (or is it one yea...

June 22, 2007

Substituting Pay for Passion

Dear Deb, Apparently your trip to China has in no way dimmed your energy or your imagination. Imagine filing two pieces almost instantly! What knowledge is of most worth? I don't think we would answer the question very differently. Despite some argumentativeness around the margins, we agree on "h...

April 18, 2007

Sorry situation in NYC

Dear Deb, I hope you won't hold my Texas origins against me. I have lived in NYC since 1960—save for a 3-year detour to Washington, D.C.—and my first book was a history of the New York City public schools. I have been writing about these schools for about half my life, so, yes, I have a...

April 17, 2007

NYC Klein

Dear Diane, I wrote the following after reading the NY Times piece you sent me last week. Meanwhile my earlier effort to lay out our differences has led to a lively response from you on progressive education and the rationale for standardized national tests. I'm already preparing my counter-argum...

March 05, 2007

More on the NYC rally and accountability

Dear Diane, I wish I had been there at the rally for Public Education. But I did hear on my way to Boston, that Klein/Bloomberg had appointed a Parent Engagement person as a response. They miss the point. This isn’t a PR problem. And, as you aptly note, hiring the opposition doesn’t alwa...

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