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February 24, 2009

Is Arne Duncan Really Margaret Spellings in Drag?

Dear Deborah, I have been watching and listening to our new secretary of education, trying to understand his views on the most important issues facing our schools and the nation's children. I wanted to believe candidate Barack Obama when he said that he would introduce real change and restore hope...

February 19, 2009

We Need Schools That 'Train' Our Judgment

Dear Diane, Thanks for “nailing” Nicholas Kristof. Another very well-meaning ally. With friends like Kristof we... . Kristof ought to read Rothstein et al more carefully on the complexity of the relationship between the economy and schooling. The lapse between schooling data and economic data ...

January 15, 2009

Time to Enlarge the Public's Imagination

Dear Diane, Fair enough. The “idea” might even be good (downplaying college education and going straight for occupational education at 18), but getting from here to there is a puzzle to me, too, even if it were the right idea. Under far more egalitarian circumstances I can see how we might re-o...

January 13, 2009

A Good Word or Two About Schools

Dear Deborah, I acknowledge that I have been influenced in my thinking by my frequent exchanges with you. A friend warned me the other day that I have been giving aid and comfort to the anti-testing crowd, which he said was a terrible thing. I think he got it wrong. I am not (nor have I ever been)...

December 09, 2008

Is Democratic Governance the Problem?

Dear Deborah, You quote John Goodlad, who asks “Whatever became of the idea that representative democracy is the essential starting point for public education?” This is an important question to raise today, as I suspect that our political elites have lost faith in this idea. Take, for example...

December 02, 2008

What Do We Mean by Accountability?

Dear Deborah, I wish, as you suggested, that we could have some influence on the national debate. Even when we don’t agree on the specifics, we at least have the humility to know we don’t have all the answers to the problems. For the next few years, much will depend on decisions soon to be made...

October 09, 2008

The Need to Examine Definitions of Success

Dear Diane, NYC’s success at claiming to be the new Texas miracle is depressing. I may delay responding to your response to my query about national standards. Or get at it more slowly! But it makes me do some tough we might stick with it for a while once again. Speaking of tough, ...

October 07, 2008

National Standards and the Moment

Dear Deborah, When Gov. Roy Romer spoke of national standards at our recent debate, I believe he was suggesting the development of national standards and testing on a voluntary basis, starting with about 15 governors working together to derive a common program. He did not say whether he would want ...

October 02, 2008

Trust and Schools

Dear Diane, John Dewey spent his life warning us about false dichotomies. One of our readers, I notice, warned fellow readers of our column not to slip into the same trap. I thought of that after watching the Obama/McCain debate: some observers thought Obama was mistaken to remind voters that McCai...

September 30, 2008

The Business Model and Its Discontents

Dear Deborah, You were a great partner in our debate last week in Washington, where the two of us—accustomed to differing—sparred with former governor of Colorado Roy Romer (who now chairs the group ED in ’08) and Jon Schnur (the founder of New Leaders for New Schools). I think we sur...

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