Deborah Meier

Where do the children play?

There's a moment midway through PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE that really struck home for me. We see a series of photographs of him as a teenager, as a young man, with a striking, unusually beaming grin.

The Error of Their Ideas

Diane Ravitch's change of heart is reason to take heart. A prestigious policy voice in education, she served in the Poppy Bush administration and for many years was a top supporter of the whole right-wing vision of school reform—charter schools, free markets, demanding "accountability" from teachers and principals, No Child Left Behind, and testing, testing, one, two, three. Now she's done a nearly-complete turnaround. She deliberately chose the title of her newest book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, to sound like Jane Jacobs.

Education and The System

I confess, one subset of the national political discourse I have largely tuned out lately is the education debate. I find it kind of inane and depressing. Apparently some mainstream media people are speculating that education could be one area where the incoming Congress might be able to work constructively—that is, if the GOP is willing to allow anything to pass in the next two years. Hurry up and wait.

As far as I can see, the intervention of the politicians in education mostly makes things worse. It's all about standards and tests to them.