There I was, driving through rural NJ … somewhere between thinking about the NYT review of “Waiting for Superman” (which is sure advance the cause of education reform – if only through shining the light on some of the ridiculous personnel practices in education) and the Vanderbilt POINT study (which has thrown the equivalent of a bucket of cold water on performance pay advocates … myself included) and it hit me: Nowhere in the increasingly acidic volleys back and forth between the education reform crowd and the status quo crowd is there a place for the moderate, reasonable, rational voice.
I find myself torn between two extremist camps: One set on turning public education on its head and recklessly degrading and diminishing the efforts of educators; the other set on protecting the old systems, contracts, rules, and protections unions have worked for over the past 50 some years. I must admit, I don’t feel entirely comfortable lying down with either of them. My head is with the reformers – my heart is with the teachers.
Education needs to change, perhaps even radically, to meet the needs of kids in the 21st century and to keep America great. But we need the expertise and continued service of our country’s great educators to meet that challenge.
So that’s what this site is going to be all about – providing a “radically moderate,” hopefully insightful, and appropriately balanced take on the education policy news of the day.
This is admittedly a little scary, as standing in “no mans’ land” in the middle of a trench war is a pretty stupid place to be. I don’t have a “gang” of reform zealots or status quo stalwarts to back me. However, my sincere hope is that this effort provides some sort of much-needed “centering” effect.
Wish me luck – this is probably going to hurt.
East Orange, NJ