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March 25, 2010

What Are the Trade-Offs?

Dear Diane, Lucid and to the point, Diane. I'll sign on. Once again, we may confront a law that penalizes schools that don't eliminate differential test score outcomes that correlate with race, class, disability, or language spoken at home. (And that pays teachers based on scores, and favors charte...

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 09, 2010

What I Did Not Recant or Abandon

Dear Deborah, This has been an amazing week. The book came out on March 2 and immediately was the best-selling education policy book on Its wonderful reception is due not to any unusual talent or insight of my own, but to the fact that what I am saying resonates with teachers, administr...

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 25, 2010

Divided We Fail

Dear Diane, How did we let "them" pit so many good people against each other? Maybe it's just New York City? Parents, teachers, and kids are fighting each other over who is invading whose turf, who belongs, who is an insider vs. an outsider. A busload of mothers goes to Albany on behalf of charters...

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 11, 2010

A Climate of False Crisis

Dear Diane, Leisure is an essential ingredient for a successful working democracy. We need time to think and unbundle some of the contradictions by which we live. If "elitism" is wrong for charters, why is it okay for public schools? Why do we presume that poor kids need a more rigid and authoritar...

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