[Susan notes: Alfie's point about reform is important. What the public gets via the media is school reform as the monolithic entity dished out by the corporate politicos. In truth, many people who know a lot about education work for various reform models, mostly ignored by the media.
Submitted to New York Times Magazine but not published
To the editor
Steven Brill's "The Teachers' Unions' Last Stand" (May 23) presents a deeply misleading account of the current struggles over education policy, one that implicitly accepts three inaccurate ΓΆ€“ and politically potent ΓΆ€“ ways of framing the discussion. First, the term "student achievement" is used to mean little more than scores on fill-in-the-bubble tests despite serious questions about the validity and value of those tests. If policy makers rarely understand the difference between meaningful learning and high standardized test scores, it's partly due to writers who chronically conflate the two.
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