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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 14, 2009

Schools Need Accountability Consistent with Democracy

You and I, Diane, want an intellectually feisty citizenry, and that’s what we don’t offer the poor.

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...

May 07, 2009

Why Not Strengthen the NAEP as a Tool for Seeing Trends?

Dear Diane, I think it’s unlikely that the fans of mayoral control are open to persuasion. But thanks, Diane, for relentlessly pursuing them. We’re in for lots of nonsense in the name of reform. Arne Duncan is planning a contest for a new name to replace the unpopular No Child Left Behind. I...

May 05, 2009

What NAEP Long-Term Trend Scores Tell Us About NCLB

Dear Deborah, I watched with some amusement as the media tried to figure out how to report the latest results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Margaret Spellings said that the results vindicated the success of No Child Left Behind. The story by Sam Dillon of The New York...

April 30, 2009

Test Scores and Reinforcing the Wrong Connections

Dear Diane, The good news is that most of the American people haven’t lost their common sense. And, above all, those closest to “the action”—parents, teachers, kids, and their families, plus a majority of those who work closely with schools or are “students” of schooling—haven...

April 23, 2009

When Tests Don't Measure Well What They Appear to be Measuring

Dear Diane, Your Tuesday column set out good reasons for rejecting standardized testing to reward teachers. I sent a letter home to parents every year on the 10 factors that influenced their child's reading scores. I'll send it to you one day soon—it still applies. Incidentally, some readers...

March 10, 2009

21st-Century Skills, Accountability, and Curriculum

Dear Deborah, Last week, I attended three different conferences in Washington, D.C. Not something I like to do, as I really do hope to finish my book in a few months. One was the “21st-Century skills” panel at Common Core, which we discussed. Then there was a panel discussion of accountability,...

February 26, 2009

Confusing Test Scores With 'Being Well-Educated'

Dear Diane, A great Tuesday letter. It has outraged some of my friends—whose strategic approach now is to applaud anything moving in our direction and speak quietly about anything we profoundly disagree with. Yes, alas: Duncan’s office is not yet offering a change either of us can believ...

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