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March 26, 2009

Is Some Rethinking About 'Accountability' Past Due?

Dear Diane, My own evolution, politically, has always been influenced by the realization that I might be in a minority! In fact, maybe some of us are born with that realization (even if shielded from it by a family surrounding in which we have a hard time imagining another reasonable viewpoint). ...

March 24, 2009

Will Public Education Survive the Embrace of Big Money?

Dear Deborah, My guess is that we will have a long time, not months, but years, to discuss national standards and a national curriculum. The question won’t go away. It is one of the items on Secretary Duncan’s “to-do” list. In 1995, I wrote a book on the subject and predicted that we would ...

September 25, 2008

The Promises That Count

Dear Diane, What a week we’ve been through—full of lessons about accountability as it’s practiced in the world of high finance. NYC’s grading policy is indeed embarrassing, Diane. Had they used test experts—like Daniel Koretz—they might have invented something better. But...

September 23, 2008

The Dumbing Down of 'Accountability'

Dear Deborah, I heard from a friend who attended the New York state Senate hearing where you testified. He said you were outstanding. Just last week, the New York City Department of Education released its “report cards” for the schools. Every school was assigned a single letter grade from A to...

September 18, 2008

Being Afraid Is Unsuitable for Teaching and Learning

Dear Diane, Today (Thursday) I hope to appear at the New York state hearings on NYC’s school governance system. Last week I spent a few days in D.C. listening to my colleagues discuss dropout rates at a congressional briefing. It was organized by the Alliance for Excellence and the Forum for Educ...

September 11, 2008

Trust, Community, and Schools

Dear Diane, I'm not entirely ducking it—just partly. I'm also getting at it in a circuitous way! Of course, at heart, I am struggling to understand the American "people." I know I am hopelessly out of the loop, although I keep circling around for common threads. The enthusiasm for Sarah Pal...

March 18, 2008

Who's Failing Whom?

Dear Debbie, I must say that I do not see mandatory schooling as incarceration, and I suspect that you really don’t see it that way either. We surely know of many nations in the world where the availability of schooling is very limited, and there is no surer guarantee of inequality and social sta...

February 05, 2008

If At First You Don't Succeed...

Dear Deborah, I have read the reports of the international assessments over the years and think it would be foolhardy to dismiss them out of hand. The professionals who create them and administer them have no axe to grind; they don’t get bonuses if the scores go up or down. They are scrupulous ab...

January 24, 2008

When "Equality" Is Used to Push Through Orwellian Measures

Dear Diane, You’ve quoted the part we most agree about from your book "Left Back." It’s amazing how much flows from that agreement. I suspect it’s this core that immunizes us against the "reign of (soft) terror" that we’re witnessing in the most innovative school districts, such as NYC. ...

January 17, 2008

Sneaking In IQ Testing for 5-Year-Olds

Dear Diane, Like the distinguished panel of assessment experts whom Commissioner Mills called in to examine it wrote—the old CPESS model was a promising beginning. We had much work to be done if others were to follow suit. Instead others were discouraged and finally prohibited from doing so...

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