November 6, 1996

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Vol. 16, Issue 10
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Election years provide countless lessons in the power of language to persuade, to provoke, to inspire, and also to obscure. When pushed to clarify their positions, politicians often dive behind a cover of confusing language. Skepticism of all public officials grows right along with the people's reluctance to believe what the officials say. Do these trends have implications for educators?
Accountability has been a central principle, along with fairness and affordability, in my district's contract talks this year with both teachers and administrators. The reason for this is simple: Success must be measured before it can be rewarded. Pay increases should not be based solely on time served in a position or the number of academic degrees held, but also on performance as measured by specific standards.
University of Virginia educator and best-selling author E.D. Hirsch Jr. has long championed content-based curricula over what he sees as abstract- and discredited-theories of how children learn. In his latest book, The Schools We Need & Why We Don't Have Them, he deepens and extends his arguments for the primacy of academic challenge in school reform and seeks to explain why the history and processes of American public education have led us to the schools we have.
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CME Group Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations. Additional grants in support of Editorial Projects in Education’s data journalism and video capacity come from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. (Updated 1/1/2017)

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