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March 23, 2010

Try Again, Secretary Duncan, It's Not Too Late

Dear Deborah, The big event of early March was the release of President Obama's plan to revise No Child Left Behind. Although NCLB continues to have its defenders, the Obama administration rightly views it as a "toxic" brand. Perhaps if the Obama team had given more thought to why it became toxic, ...

March 18, 2010

Leaving Little Space for Serious Questions

Dear Diane, Newsweek alas is not the only source of misinformation, although its article was especially outrageous. The New York Times in contrast used less inflammatory language in support of NCLB/RTTT under President Bush and now President Obama. In a mere 500 or so words, the Times managed to us...

March 04, 2010

It's Not Too Late...Probably

Dear Diane, They say the best reason for studying history is that it helps you see that the future is still a work in progress. And your new book—The Death and Life of the Great American School System—is an important step toward moving forward. Your clarity and quiet passion, I'm happy ...

March 02, 2010

Today Is Publication Day

Dear Deborah, At last! Over the course of our three years of blogging together, I have been writing a book, as you know. Today is publication day for The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. The title is a conscious echo of Jane Jacob...

February 18, 2010

The Most Shameful Response to an Apparent Crisis

Dear Diane, Will this period mostly be known for the extraordinarily high levels of everyday corruption and the buying and selling of democracy? We're growing accustomed to it. We jail folks for smoking pot, while corporations (full-scale citizens, according to the Supreme Court) can't be jailed fo...

February 16, 2010

Conflicts of Interest and the Race to the Top

Dear Deborah, It is not surprising that the Race to the Top has generated enormous buzz among educators since it dangles $4.3 billion to states that do what the U.S. Department of Education wants them to do. Now President Obama has announced that he is so pleased with the response to the Race that ...

February 09, 2010

Two Types of Superintendent

Dear Deborah, As I watch events across the nation, I have concluded that district leadership today falls into one of two varieties. On one hand is the traditional superintendent, who believes that he is responsible for the schools and students in his care. He visits the schools often and consults ...

February 02, 2010

Closing Schools Solves Nothing

Dear Deborah, Last week, the New York City Department of Education pushed through a decision to close 19 high schools. With the encouragement of the "Race to the Top," we will surely see similar closings across the nation, hundreds or perhaps thousands of them. Entrepreneurs cheer when public scho...

January 28, 2010

Educating the Young: Who Knows 'Best'?

Dear Diane, It was good to read your summary of our plight with my old hometown Chicago, not NYC, as the centerpiece. It's a replay of the scenario under the former Secretary of Education Rod Paige who shipped his "Texas miracle" to the nation under President George W. Bush. The result—NCLB. ...

January 26, 2010

Arne Duncan at ED: Year One

Dear Deborah, It is time to appraise the first year of the Obama administration and its impact on American education. I met with Arne Duncan in October, and I liked him very much. He is a very likeable guy. But I strongly disagree with his priorities. In a recent Education Week article about Duncan...

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