Articles

“Mayor de Blasio and Education: Fact-Checking Eva Moskowitz’s Claims”, Huffington Post: Education, March 12, 2014
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Mayor de Blasio and Education: Fact-Checking Eva Moskowitz’s Claims

“Should Mayor de Blasio Unravel Bloomberg’s Reforms?”, The New York Times, January, 2014
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Should Mayor de Blasio Unravel Bloomberg’s Reforms?

“Why so many parents hate Common Core”, Huffington Post, November 25, 2013
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Why so many parents hate Common Core

“Our Kids Today: The Greatest Generation?”, Huffington Post, October 16, 2013
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Our Kids Today: The Greatest Generation?

“The Charter School Mistake”, Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2013
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The Charter School Mistake.

“Diane Ravitch: 3 Dubious Uses of Technology in Schools”, Scientific American, July 18, 2013
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Technology is transforming American education, for good and for ill.

“Alabama Accountability Act will devastate public schools without improving education”, AL.com, March 28, 2013
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The Republicans in the state legislature pulled a fast one on the Democrats. They pretended to negotiate in good faith, but then passed a bill that the Democrats never saw.

“Former Bush education official: Guinea pigs for Common Core standards”, Indystar, February 27, 2013
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I have thought long and hard about the Common Core standards.I have decided that I cannot support them.

“We Must Out-Educate and Out-Innovate Other Nations”, Bill Moyers Web Site, February 8, 2013
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My fellow Americans, I have said in previous addresses on this occasion that the key to our future success is to make sure that the education we provide our young people is the best in the world. I have said that we must out-educate and out-innovate other nations.

“Holding Education Hostage”, New York Review of Books, February 1, 2013
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For weeks, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers have been battling over the issue of teacher evaluation. Governor Andrew Cuomo set a deadline for them to reach an agreement, but they failed to do so, potentially costing the city schools hundreds of millions of dollars. The state education commissioner, John King, jumped into the fray by threatening to withhold over a billion dollars in state and federal aid if there was no settlement between the parties. Now, Governor Cuomo says that he may intervene and take charge of the stalemated negotiations.

What’s going on here? Why can’t the mayor and the union reach an agreement? Why does Commissioner King intend to punish the city’s children if the grown-ups don’t agree?

“Two Visions for Chicago’s Schools,” New York Review of Books, September 12, 2012
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According to most news reports, the teachers in Chicago are striking because they are lazy and greedy. Or they are striking because of a personality clash between Mayor Rahm Emanuel and union president Karen Lewis. Or because this is the last gasp of a dying union movement. Or because Emanuel wants a longer school day, and the teachers oppose it.None of this is true.

“My View: Rhee is wrong and misinformed,” CNN, August 9, 2012
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A few days ago, CNN interviewed former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee about American education. Rhee, predictably, said that American education is terrible, that test scores are flat, and that we are way behind other nations on international tests. I disagree with Rhee.

“Universities to be Tested to Distraction,” University World News, February 26, 2012.
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The mindset that has unleashed so much harm on our K-12 schools is now moving inexorably towards higher education. Obama says he wants a Race to the Top for higher education. Race to the Top has been disastrous for our public schools and teachers, but he now wants higher education to share the pain of government-regulated accountability.

“Say ‘No Thanks’ to Charter Schools,” Montgomery (AL) Advertiser, February 11, 2012.
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Former Washington, D.C., school chancellor Michelle Rhee has sent her followers to Alabama to promote charter schools, but Alabama should say “no, thanks.” The District of Columbia is no model for school reform.

Charter schools haven’t helped other states and they won’t help Alabama. Here are the reasons why.

“Obama Grants Waivers to NCLB and Makes a Bad Situation Worse,” The Daily Beast (blog), February 10, 2012.
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Secretary Arne Duncan is right about the No Child Left Behind law: It is an unmitigated disaster. Signed into law a decade ago by President George W. Bush, NCLB is widely despised for turning schools into testing factories. By mandating that every student in the nation would be “proficient” by 2014, as judged by state tests, it set a goal that no nation in the world has ever met, and that no state in this nation is close to meeting. The goal is laudable but out of reach. It’s comparable to Congress mandating that every city, town, and village in the nation must be crime-free by 2014 … or their police departments would be severely punished.

NCLB is the worst federal education law ever passed. About half of all public schools in the nation have been stigmatized as “failing” because they couldn’t meet its utopian mandates, and the proportion is certain to grow every year.

“Diane Ravitch Has Questions for the Cuomo Commission,” School Book (blog), New York Times and WNYC, January 6, 2012.
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In the one tested area that looked promising — fourth-grade mathematics — New York was the only state in the nation in which scores declined in 2011.

The commission needs to ask some tough questions.

First, where is the money going?

“Response to Eric Hanushek,” Eduwonk (blog), November 1, 2011.
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I would like to disagree as to the larger idea that firing teachers is the key to fixing U.S. public education.

The problem, Rick believes, is that we are not firing enough teachers. The problem, as I see it, is that we are not doing enough to recruit those who are well prepared and then supporting them once they are in the classroom.

“Achievement Gap Starts Before School Starts,” San Antonio Express-News, October 13, 2011.
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We are now at a fork in the road. If we continue on our present path of privatization and unproven reforms, we will witness the explosive growth of a for-profit education industry and of education entrepreneurs receiving high salaries to manage nonprofit enterprises.

The free market loves competition, but competition produces winners and losers, not equality of educational opportunity. We will turn teachers into “at will” employees who can be fired at the whim of a principal based on little more than test scores. Their pay and benefits will also depend on the scores. Who will want to teach? Most new teachers already leave the job within five years.

“School ‘Reform’: A Failing Grade,” New York Review of Books, September 29, 2011.
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In these two books, we have two versions of school reform. One is devised by Wall Street financiers and politicians who believe in rigidly defined numerical goals and return on investment; they blame lazy teachers and self-interested unions when test scores are low. The other draws on the deep experience of a compassionate teacher who finds fault not with teachers, unions, or students, but with a society that refuses to take responsibility for the conditions in which its children live and learn — and who has demonstrated through her own efforts how one dedicated teacher has improved the education of poor young people.

“Reflections on a Visit to Germany,” Huffington Post, September 30, 2011.
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History presses in, and yet the lesson of Berlin for me was that even the worst of times comes to an end. Hitler was defeated, the Third Reich was destroyed, the division of the city of Berlin eventually ended, the Communist regime fell. None of this happened accidentally or naturally. It happened because of resistance, persistence, belief in a better life and a readiness to fight for it, even to die for it.

By the end of my ten days in Germany, I reassessed my emotions. Being in Germany made me keenly aware of my Jewish ancestry. Yet I felt no anger towards the Germans I met. I will never forget or forgive the perpetrators or even comprehend what happened in this nation, on that soil. But I think today of the many decent, kind Germans I met and of the candor with which the nation has acknowledged and repudiated the crimes of the past.

“American Schools in Crisis,” The Saturday Evening Post, August 16, 2011.
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Again, not one of these policies — not one — has any consistent body of evidence behind it. The fundamental belief that carrots and sticks will improve education is a leap of faith, an ideology to which its adherents cling despite evidence to the contrary.

“Invitation to a Dialogue: Fixing the Schools,” New York Times (Letter to the Editor), July 6, 2011.
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Mr. Brooks has misrepresented my views. While I have criticized charter schools, I am always careful to point out that they vary widely. The overwhelming majority of high-quality research studies on charters shows that some are excellent, some are abysmal and most are no better than regular public schools.

“Waiting for a School Miracle,” The New York Times (op-ed), May 31, 2011.
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If every child arrived in school well-nourished, healthy and ready to learn, from a family with a stable home and a steady income, many of our educational problems would be solved. And that would be a miracle.

“Bill Gates: Selling Bad Advice to the Public Schools,” The Daily Beast (blog), May 23, 2011.
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So far, the main effect of Gates’ policy has been to demoralize millions of teachers, who don’t understand how they went from being respected members of the community to Public Enemy No. 1.

As a nation we now have a toxic combination of a failed federal policy — No Child Left Behind — which made testing the be-all and end-all of schooling, and Bill Gates’ misguided belief that teacher quality can be determined by student test scores.

“Teachers Furious at Duncan,” The Daily Beast (blog), May 10, 2011.
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Many teachers hold Duncan’s policies accountable for the public disrespect now directed at teachers in the media. Consequently they can’t find it in their hearts to trust Arne Duncan when he thanks them for their service. They’ve learned to respond to what he does, not what he says.

“‘Failing schools’ Fallacy,” The Daily, April 30, 2011.
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Using the logic of today’s reformers, American education has “failed” consistently for the past 50 years. But wait — Obama said in his State of the Union address this year that we should ignore the “naysayers” because “America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. No workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We’re the home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any place on earth.”

As the China-born, China-educated scholar Yong Zhao, now at the University of Oregon, has pointed out, there is no logical connection between international test scores and the success of our economy. Our scores have been poor to middling for 50 years, yet we have the greatest economy in the world.

“The Education of Lord Bloomberg,” NYR Blog, New York Review of Books, April 11, 2011.
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Mayor Bloomberg … selected someone he liked and admired but who was not in the least qualified for the job, neither by experience nor by temperament. Mayoral control of the schools — one of Bloomberg’s early accomplishments in City Hall — has brought out some of the mayor’s worst traits, and he tends to act as though the schools belong to him as an extension of his personal household and that he rules as lord of the manor, a lord whose decisions are never to be questioned.

Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier conduct a conversation in blog form, hosted by Education Week. The blog is called Bridging Differences.  Links to selected entries appear here; you can find the latest posts and entire archive by clicking here.


“Bobby Jindal vs. Public Education,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, March 6, 2012.

“How to Demoralize Teachers,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, February 28, 2012.

“A Dark Day for New York,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, February 21, 2012.

“Desperate Times in Cleveland and Ohio,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, February 14, 2012.

“Getting Real About Turnarounds,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, February 7, 2012.

“Does President Obama Know What Race to the Top Is?” Bridging Differences, Education Week, January 31, 2012.

“Will California Start a National Revolt Against Bad Ideas?,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, January 24, 2012.

“What Value Did the Chetty Study Add?,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, January 17, 2012.

“NCLB: The Death Star of American Education,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, January 10, 2012.

“The Odd Couple: Dennis and Wendy,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, January 3, 2012.

“Scrooge and School Reform,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, December 13, 2011.

“Should Schools Be Run for Profit?,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, November 29, 2011.

“Billionaires for Education Reform,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, November 15, 2011.

“Hooray for the Long Island Principals!,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, November 8, 2011.

“Will San Diego’s Public Schools Survive?” Bridging Differences, Education Week, November 1, 2011.

“NCLB: End It, Don’t Mend It,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, October 25, 2011.

“If You Believe in Miracles, Don’t Read This,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, October 18, 2011.

“What Can We Learn From Finland?,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, October 11, 2011.

“The Trouble With the Parent Trigger,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, October 4, 2011.

“Reflections on the March on Washington, July 30, 2011,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, September 6, 2011.

“Reasons for Hope,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, June 28, 2011.

“Why I Am Marching on July 30,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, June 21, 2011.

“An Interesting Few Days,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, June 7, 2011.

“What Works Best: Help or Punishment?,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, May 17, 2011.

“What Did We Learn From the Cathie Black Debacle?,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, April 19, 2011.

“Lessons From Wisconsin,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, March 15, 2011.

“Signs of Hope?,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, March 8, 2011.

Huckleberry Finn and The Wire,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, January 11, 2011.

“The Real Lessons of PISA,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, December 14, 2010.

“Bill Gates Listens to the Wrong People,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, November 30, 2010.

“That Was the Week That Was,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, November 16, 2010.

“A Manifesto by the Powerful,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, October 19, 2010.

“The Problems With Value-Added Assessment,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, October 5, 2010.

“Merit Pay Fails Another Test,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, September 28, 2010.

“Why Michelle Rhee and Adrian Fenty Lost,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, September 21, 2010.

“Why Civil Rights Groups Oppose the Obama Agenda,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, September 14, 2010.

“Welcome Back to School ‘Reform,’” Bridging Differences, Education Week, September 7, 2010.

“The Great Accountability Hoax,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, June 15, 2010.

“Just Say No to the Race to the Top,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, May 25, 2010.

“Schools 4 $Sale: Inquire at U.S. DOE,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, May 18, 2010.

“A Double Standard on Test Scores,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, May 11, 2010.

“Letter to the Honorable Members of the Florida Legislature,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, April 6, 2010.

“What I Did Not Recant or Abandon,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, March 9, 2010.

“Closing Schools Solves Nothing,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, February 2, 2010.

“Arne Duncan at ED: Year One,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, January 26, 2010.

“The New Era of Greed,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, January 5, 2010.

“The Race to Nowhere,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, December 15, 2009.

“Obama and Duncan Are Wrong About Charters,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, November 16, 2009.

“Why Education Is Not the Civil Rights Issue of Our Time,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, May 26, 2009.

“Data-Driven Nonsense,” Bridging Differences, Education Week, May 19, 2009.

“What ‘The Harlem Miracle’ Really Teaches,” Bridging Differences,Education Week, May 12, 2009.

“Bridging Differences: A Dialogue Between Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch,” with Deborah Meier, Education Week (introduction to the series, subscription required), May 24, 2006.

“Do Politicians Know Anything At All About Schools and Education? Anything?,” Nieman Watchdog, February 7, 2012.

“A Letter to New Mexico Legislators – Florida Model Does NOT Work,” Independent Source PAC, February 4, 2012.

“The NCLB Saga Continues (Response),” National Journal Online, October 24, 2011.

“Richard Whitmire’s Account of Michelle Rhee’s Schools Tenure,” Washington Post, April 8, 2011.

“Shame on Michelle Rhee,” The Daily Beast (blog), March 29, 2011.

“Obama’s War on Schools,” Newsweek, March 20, 2011.

“Eight Civics Lessons from Governor Walker,” The Huffington Post (blog), March 14, 2011.

“Why America’s Teachers Are Enraged,” CNN.com, February 21, 2011.

“Testing Remains the Problem,” New York Times, January 26, 2011.

“Ravitch Answers Gates,” with Valerie Strauss, The Answer Sheet (blog), Washington Post, November 30, 2010.

“The GOP’s Education Dilemma,” The Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2010.

“The Myth of Charter Schools,” New York Review of Books, November 11, 2010.

“New York’s New Schools Czar,” New York Review of Books, November 11, 2010.

“Dictating to the Schools,” Virginia Journal of Education, November 10, 2010.

“New York City Plan to Grade Teachers with ‘Value-Added’ Data is Destructive,” New York Daily News, October 25, 2010.

“The Obsession With Testing Is Nuts,” Huffington Post, October 4, 2010.

“Stop Trashing Teachers!,” The Daily Beast, September 29, 2010.

“A Letter from One Non-Believer to Another,” Gotham Schools (blog), September 13, 2010.

“A Big Margin for Error,” New York Times, September 7, 2010.

“Stop the Madness,” book excerpt, NEA Today, August / September 2010.

“There’s Plenty to Learn from George Hall Elementary,” Mobile Press-Register, August 27, 2010.

“Three Books About Education Reform,” Washington Post, August 22, 2010.

“Ravitch: Mayoral Control Means Zero Accountability,” The Answer Sheet (blog), Washington Post, August 4, 2010.

“The Sound of Bubbles Bursting: Student Gains on State Test Vanished into Thin Air,” New York Daily News, August 1, 2010.

“Obama’s Race to the Top Will Not Improve Education,” Huffington Post, August 1, 2010.

“Ravitch on Teachers and Her Critics,” The Answer Sheet (blog), Washington Post, July 8, 2010.

“Opinion: Don’t Close Schools, Fix Them,” AOL News, June 29, 2010.

“In Need of a Renaissance: Real Reform Will Renew, Not Abandon, Our Neighborhood Schools,” book excerpt, American Educator, Summer 2010.

“Why I Changed My Mind,” The Nation, June 14, 2010.

“Obama’s Right-Wing School Reform,” New York Review of Books, June 10, 2010.

“Why Does Everyone Think CEOs Have the Answers?,” School Administrator (AASA), June 2010.

“It’s Time to Give Scrutiny to Foundations’ Efforts to Remake Education,” book excerpt, Chronicle of Philanthropy, May 16, 2010 (subscription required).

“High-Stakes Testing” (in series “Twelve Things the World Should Toss Out”), Washington Post, May 6, 2010.

“No Bad Idea Left Behind,” American Interest, May-June 2010.

“Testimony of Dr. Diane Ravitch, Public Hearing on Charter Schools,” Senate Standing Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions, Albany, NY, April 22, 2010.

“A New Agenda for School Reform,” Washington Post, April 2, 2010.

“New York Education Officials Are Lying to the State’s Schoolkids,” New York Daily News, March 31, 2010.

“Has Education Reform Gone Too Far/Is Education on the Wrong Track? A TNR Symposium,“ with Diane Ravitch, Richard Rothstein, Ben Wildavsky, Andrew Rotherham, Kevin Carey, Nelson Smith, New Republic, March 15-21, 2010. (View part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5.)

“‘T’ Is for ‘Texas Textbooks,’” Daily Beast, March 14, 2010.

“The Big Idea—It’s Bad Education Policy,” Los Angeles Times, March 14, 2010.

“Why I Changed My Mind About School Reform,” Wall Street Journal, March 9, 2010.

“First, Let’s Fire All the Teachers!,” Huffington Post, March 2, 2010.

“Why Public Schools Need Democratic Governance,” Phi Delta Kappan, March 2010.

“Today’s Education ‘Reforms’ Were Not Martin Luther King’s Dream,” Huffington Post, January 18, 2010.

“We’ve Always Had National Standards,” Education Week, January 14, 2010.

“New York City Charter Schools Need to Focus on the Neediest,” New York Daily News, January 13, 2010.

“What’s Wrong With Merit Pay?,” Hoover Digest 2009, no. 4.

“Critical Thinking? You Need Knowledge,” Boston Globe, September 15, 2009.

“All Twitter, No Twain,” Hoover Digest 2009, no. 3.

“Obama’s Awful Education Plan,” Huffington Post, August 23, 2009.

“The Partnership for 19th Century Skills,” Common Core (blog), July 6, 2009.

“Time to Kill ‘No Child Left Behind,’” Education Week (subscription required), June 8, 2009.

“Are Hollywood and the Internet Killing Reading?,” Forbes.com, February 17, 2009.

“Britain’s Language Police,” Forbes.com, December 27, 2008.

“We Shouldn’t Pay Kids to Learn,” Forbes.com, October 17, 2008.

“A Flawed Reform,” New York Sun, December 17, 2007.

“What’s So Great About Chinese Education?,” Huffington Post, May 28, 2007.

“History’s Struggle to Survive in the Schools,” Magazine of History 21, no. 2 (April 2007), pp. 28-32.

“‘Tough Choices’: Radical Ideas, Misguided Assumptions,” Education Week (subscription required), January 17, 2007.

“Why Teacher Unions Are Good for Teachers—and the Public,” American Educator, Winter 2006-2007.

“The English in Us,” with Michael Ravitch, New York Sun, December 15, 2006.

“Improving Standards and Opportunity for Higher Education in Pakistan,” paper, First International Symposium on Issues in Higher Education in Pakistan, United Nations, December 5-6, 2005.

“Recalling Michael Lynch,” New York Sun, March 24, 2005.

“You Can’t Say That,” Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2004.

“Leaving Reality Out: How Textbooks (Don’t) Teach About Tyranny,” American Educator, Fall 2003.

“Does Education Really Need More Innovation in the Age of Scientifically Based Research?,” Presentation, Office of Innovation and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education, April 15, 2003.

Introduction to the 2000 edition of The American Reader (New York: HarperCollins, 2000).

“What If Research Really Mattered?,” Education Week, December 16, 1998.

“The Great Technology Mania,” Forbes.com, March 23, 1998.

“Defining Literacy Downward,” New York Times, August 28, 1996.

“What Is Democracy and How It Should Be Taught in the Schools,” Free Society Seminar, American Federation of Teachers’ Education for Democracy / International Project, November 1989.

“Tot Sociology; Or What Happened to History in the Grade Schools,” American Scholar 56, no. 3 (Summer 1987), pp. 343-354.

“Bring Literature and History Back to Elementary Schools,” in The Schools We Deserve (New York: Basic Books, 1985), pp. 75-79.

“A Good School,” in The Schools We Deserve (New York: Basic Books, 1985), pp. 275-294.

“Scapegoating the Teachers,” in The Schools We Deserve (New York: Basic Books, 1985), pp. 90-99.

“The Uses and Misuses of Tests,” in The Schools We Deserve (New York: Basic Books, 1985), pp. 172-181.

“Programs, Placebos, Panaceas,” Urban Review, April 1968.