Education Reform as Collaboration, Not Competition

radical eyes for equity

At This Week in Poverty, Greg Kaufmann offers Anti-Poverty Leaders Discuss the Need for a Shared Agenda. Taking a similar pose, Diane Ravitch offers her reasoned “dissent” to my post, Secretary Duncan and the Politics of White Outrage, explaining at the end:

My advice to Paul Thomas, whose sense of outrage I share, is to embrace coalition politics. When the white moms and dads realize they are in the same situation as the black and Hispanic moms and dads, they become a force to be reckoned with. The coalition of diverse groups is a source of political power that will benefit children and families of all colors and conditions.

Both pieces raise an important element in the education reform debates, especially as that overlaps with efforts to address and eradicate poverty and inequity: Failure in education and equity reform has be driven by commitments to competition models…

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I’m thankful for…

Politico: Arne Duncan’s Ambitious Agenda Hits Speed Bumps

Diane Ravitch's blog

Stephanie Simon describes the political minefields that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has run into as he seeks to remake American education.

She does not mention that Duncan’s program dovetails with No Child Left Behind, which is now widely acknowledged to be a failed approach.

Nor does she mention that Duncan’s tenure in Chicago, where he honed his present ideas about reform, was unsuccessful.

Duncan is generously praised by the hedge fund managers’ group Democrats for Education Reform.

But critics call him out for micromanagement:

Critics, however, say his strategies have been shortsighted, even naive. States are backing away from promises they made to secure grants and waivers; just this month, Arkansas said it couldn’t stick to its timetable for improving student performance or raising the quality of its teaching force. In most cases, the secretary has little leverage to make states uphold their pledges. In a ritual that strikes…

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Test score anxiety much? #WhatWouldArneDo #WhatWouldJackDo

Photo: #whatwouldarnedo

Either he’s on track, or he’s not. #WhatwouldArneDo ?

My View: Why Parents Are Rejecting Common Core

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is an article I wrote for, explaining why there is strong parent resistance to Common Core testing.

The pushback is not so much against the standards as against the decision to make the tests so “hard” and set the passing mark so unrealistically high, that most students failed.

In a democracy, public officials have to remember that they were not hired to impose their dogmas on everyone and that government functions best when it has the consent of the governed.

The most important lesson to be learned from the growing backlash is the importance of critical thinking. Right now, public officials defend the CCSS by calling critics names and trying to discredit them as extremists and ideologues.

Why not listen, engage in honest dialogue, and demonstrate a willingness to think critically and reflect on the objections, rather than smearing those who ask questions?

One of my intellectual…

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#WhatWouldArneDo hashtag is hilarious. May as well be #WhatWouldJackDo or #WhatWouldMarkDo