A High-Powered Exchange on Public Education

Steve Novick

"I hope we will criticize the many reform ideas that rest upon false assumptions about the differences between "us" (especially middle- and upper-class whites) and "them" ... spouted by folks ... whose solutions support the continuation of schools with a test-prep curriculum and military/prison-style behavioral norms ... I want all kids to have a chance to go to schools of the sort where Arne Duncan and President Obama send their own kids." - Deborah Meier

If you're interested in public education, take a look at this exchange between reknowned inner-city principal and writer Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch, author most recently of The Death and Life of the Great American School System. It's a terrific back-and-forth. Meier, by the way, had this to say about the selection of Arne Duncan in a discussion that occurred right after he was picked:

"But I think we’ve bought into, and Arne Duncan has bought into, the worst parts of the business mentality or the business model. I think there are things we can learn from the business world, but accountability is not one of them. And I think we’ve bought into some of the shoddiest accountability mindset, in which everybody is forced to lie. You know, high-stakes numbers means you play with the numbers. There’s something, I think, in sociology called Campbell’s Law: the higher the stakes, the more corrupt the data. And Obama, I think, quotes data about Chicago’s success, which I can’t expect him to be an expert on, but I’m enough of an expert to tell you it’s nonsense. And the test scores, NAEP test scores, which are the only test scores that are consistent around the nation, which shows no progress in the last seven, eight years in Chicago."

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