October 15, 1997

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Vol. 17, Issue 07
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Inevitably and predictably, America's news media have given us another round of back-to-school stories and documentaries, many of which again question why Johnny cannot read or why his teacher cannot be more effective. Just as predictably, virtually none of these analyses has gotten it right.
My most disenfranchised 8th grade language arts class and I found out about the "pow" part of language power.
Few truisms exist in the politics of education, but you can usually count on two things. When reformers seize control of the policy agenda, whether at the local, state, or national level, they almost always go too far in jettisoning what they don't like and too far in embracing the new, unproven practices they favor. Not only is the baby thrown out with the bathwater, but the baby and the bathwater are frequently replaced by something bizarre.
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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