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Some thoughts on Education Nation

John Merrow offers his thoughts on NBC’s Education Nation 2011.

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Steven Brill and the berated dog

John Merrow looks at Steven Brill’s new book.

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The ‘alien structure’ of education, and other thoughts

John Merrow on the Atlanta cheating scandal, the rise of testing, the Save Our Schools rally, and much more.

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Who’s the most influential educator in America?

John nominated four people for the title of “Most Influential Educator in America” as spring turned to summer — Joel Klein, Arne Duncan, Big Bird and Wendy Kopp. In this blog entry, he fleshes out each candidate and names some new contenders, while inviting readers to weigh in.

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Now more than ever, we must speak up for teachers

John Merrow blogs on fundamental changes to No Child Left Behind, how America should begin regarding teachers differently (in the context of his new book), the notion of ‘letting students rule the school’ and two new education books of note.

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In education, a lack of response to basic demand

On a flight from New York to California, John Merrow strikes up a dialogue with a man in the restaurant business who has two young sons. As they chat about methods of education, it becomes obvious that the many other systems — for example, the restaurant industry — are responding to basic demand models and truths far better than education. Plus: a report from Merrow’s first book party for The Influence of Teachers.

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Joel Klein’s Legacy

Much has been made of Joel Klein’s influence on New York City’s public schools over his 8 years as Chancellor. Most of the words have been kind, and deservedly so. After all, he took on a huge and hidebound system and began whacking away on day one, pausing only occasionally to catch a breath.

Combative by nature, Mr. Klein could bristle at the drop of an inference. Always well prepared, Mr. Klein dazzled with numbers, and, when the numbers didn’t support his case, he found other ways to attack.

His critics—and there are many—discount the academic achievements Mr. Klein boasted about, particularly after the flabby nature of the tests was exposed, leading to a re-grading of many public schools here. They say he was obsessed with test scores and didn’t pay enough attention to genuine learning. He maintains that he was the first to raise doubts about the tests.

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