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standardized test

When an adult took standardized test forced on kids

A longtime friend on the school board of one of the largest school systems in America did something that few public servants are willing to do. He took versions of his state’s high-stakes standardized math and reading tests for 10th graders, and said he’d make his scores public. By any reasonable measure, my friend is a success. […]

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How Bill Gates can be an education hero

A couple of days ago I watched and read the transcript of Fareed Zakaria’s CNN primetime special, “Restoring the American Dream: Fixing Education.” Zakaria talks to Bill Gates, whose five-billion-plus investment in schools has bought him a seat at the head table of education reformers. If I’d gotten any response from my previous attempts to correspond with […]

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Warring learning theories. Choose yours.

The rich philanthropists, hedge fund managers, state governors, big-city mayors, and syndicated columnists now shaping national education policy have reached a firm conclusion. The Number One factor in student performance is teacher performance. Poverty, broken homes, lead and mercury poisoning, bad teeth, poor eyesight, language difficulties, hunger, low self-esteem, run-down schools, frequent moving, cultural differences, […]

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Standardized Snake Oil

I was, generally speaking, a fairly well-behaved kid. I’ve no reasonable explanation, then, for burning a hole in the wall of the one-room school I attended in the late 1930s. It wasn’t an original idea. A precedent had been set by somebody who’d come and gone before I arrived at Union School the previous year […]

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Are we still capable of educating for ‘us-ness?’

Ronald Reagan delivered some one-liner doozies, one of which is still a favorite of several members of Congress and talking heads on cable news: “The most terrifying words in the English language,” Reagan said, “are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” It’s an interesting perspective, particularly when placed alongside another quote, one […]

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