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September 09, 2009

The Start of an Interesting and Dangerous School Year

Editor's Note: Bridging Differences returns today from its summer hiatus. The blog will resume its regular Tuesday-Thursday publishing schedule next week. Dear Deborah, School is open, and it is time to talk! What a busy summer for all of us who care about education. I had a good summer, finis...

July 09, 2009

Summer Reading & Other Thoughts

Editor's Note: After this week, Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch begin their annual summer break. Their blog will return in September. Dear Diane, I’m still amazed at how fast the new educational establishment plans to “revolutionize” our schools. I acknowledge that your support for national ...

July 07, 2009

Those Lazy, Crazy, Hazy Days of Summer

Editor's Note: After this week, Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier begin their annual summer break. Their blog will return in September. Dear Deborah, We have had fun these past couple of years exploring our differences and our agreements. It is clear that the point where we diverge most strongly is ...

June 09, 2009

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Dear Deborah, I enjoyed seeing you honored as a hero of education by FairTest last week, which established an annual award named for you. If anyone had told me five years ago that I would be at that event, I would have thought them mad. This is what “Bridging Differences” has done for me, I sup...

June 04, 2009

Test Results Are Not a Good Stand-In for Achievement

Dear Diane, You are right. We agree on the civil rights movement’s history. Schools were never the primary focus—but one of many interconnected ones. The connection between schooling and the economy interests me—but for different reasons than the usual PR-linkage (you’ll make mor...

May 21, 2009

When 'Equity' Is Used to Increase Segregation

Dear Diane, It would have chilled Martin Luther King’s blood to see how the struggle for equality has been narrowed into a race for higher test scores in a society that abandoned Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” We are now one of the least equal and least mobile modem societies. Less raci...

May 19, 2009

Data-Driven Nonsense

Dear Deborah, You seem to believe that I was chastising "the poor" for their lack of manners. Not at all! We live in an age when manners, self-discipline, respect for others, civility, and courtesy are in short supply in all parts of society. Like you, I have encountered many children from comforta...

May 12, 2009

What 'The Harlem Miracle' Really Teaches

Dear Deborah, The columnists at The New York Times are deeply engaged in school reform these days. First Nicholas Kristof discovered that the key to high achievement is measuring student test score gains, then paying more to the teachers whose students gained the most. Then Thomas Friedman discove...

April 16, 2009

A Thought That Might Help Explain Public Denial

Dear Diane, Ah yes, miracle promises are dangerous. In the bad old “decentralization” days, we were told local “corruption” ran rampant—thus the need to centralize. Your account of the Al Sharpton/Joel Klein deal, not to mention all the no-bid contracts under Klein, the high-paid con...

April 14, 2009

The School Reform Miracle That Wasn't

Editor's Note: Bridging Differences is back today after a week's publishing break. Dear Deborah, We in New York City were treated to an amazing show in early April. A group that calls itself the "Education Equality Project" held a conference and attracted such stellar educators as Arne Duncan, J...

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