The debate over progress in NYC is a microcosm of a much bigger discussion in ed reform circles: For all of the money and effort expended, have America's schools really gotten any better?
At a recent conference, two veteran reformers suggested that, no, we've made very little progress since A Nation At Risk in 1983. Then there's news out today that Newt Gingrich said largely the same thing to the press after meeting with the President on education issues.
I wonder if this is just alarmist talk to get folks more motivated to take on change, because from where I sit, things are immeasurably better than they were 10, 20, or 30 years ago, especially for our most disadvantaged kids. We have a national consensus that the achievement gap matters, we have educational entrepreneurs starting invaluable projects, we have more and more high-performing high-poverty schools thanks to chartering, and on and on and on. ????Yes, there are still challenges and groups standing in the way of reform, but as a wise man once said, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress."
Here's an optimistic take on this issue that I...