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January 14, 2010

Redefining Achievement

Dear Diane, Thanks you for that deft summary on charters! Once we forget the public purposes of education, it's easier and easier to forget about the defects of the marketplace as a way to address the common good. One of the concerns raised about the schools I founded was that such schools bred se...

January 12, 2010

The Secrets of Charter School Success

Dear Deborah, In my new book, coming out in early March,* I devote a chapter to examining the research about choice from a historical perspective. Leave aside vouchers for now, and let's look at charters, which are all the rage among the movers and shakers, including President Obama, Secretary Dunc...

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: "...new education leadership jobs: running charter ...

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...

November 19, 2009

Let's Slow Down & Consider Our Path Carefully

Dear Diane, Someone calling himself "natturner" had a sharp reply to Jay Mathews' column on closing big high schools. Even though I was part of such an effort many years ago, and still brag about the results, I think natturner made a good rhetorical point in his comment on Mathews' blog: "Mr. Math...

October 15, 2009

Is What's Good for CEOs Good for Teachers?

Dear Diane, Let's explore, one by one, the separate elements of the federal education agenda, Diane. Are they based on reason and evidence or ignorance and irrationality? (I could have asked myself the same thing about our differences regarding the trade-offs and risks involved in a national curric...

September 15, 2009

The Secret of Success and High Test Scores

Editor's note: See author's "P.S." added since entry was first published. I will have to delay a bit before I can get to the book you recommended. When I finished "Daniel Deronda," I immediately plunged into Robert Caro's wonderful biography of Robert Moses, "The Power Broker," which I am enjoying...

September 10, 2009

On the Art of Listening to Each Other

Dear Diane, I’m in the midst of reading a marvelous book by Danielle Allen called Talking to Strangers. I’d love to discuss it with others. Do read it so we can converse about it soon. Her concept of “political friendships” between strangers intrigues me. Which relates to my unpleasant enc...

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