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Less Standardization, More Flexibility

Great piece by the New York Times‘ Bob Herbert two days ago, in which he writes the following: “When you look at the variety of public schools that have worked well in the U.S. — in cities big and small, and in suburban and rural areas — you wonder why anyone thought it was a good idea to throw a stultifying blanket of standardization over the education of millions of kids of different aptitudes, interests and levels of maturity. The idea should always have been to develop a flexible system of public education that would allow all — or nearly all — children to thrive.”

Indeed. The full article is at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/18/opinion/18herbert.html.

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What the NFL Draft Can Teach School Reformers

This Thursday marks the prime-time return of the NFL Draft — an annual smorgasbord of possibility when each team fills out its roster with the best talent the college ranks have to offer.

I’m a huge football fan, so I’ll be tuning in to see which players my beloved San Diego Chargers select to fill our current holes at running back and defensive tackle. I’m also a huge public education fan, so I confess that I wish the leading voices in my field — from Arne Duncan to Michelle Rhee to Joel Klein — would also tune in, and heed some of the most relevant lessons to be learned from the NFL.

In particular, I wish they’d pay attention to three truisms:

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