About this blog Subscribe to this blog

Update: Reformers Refute "No Excuses" Article

image from www.uab.eduWhitney Tilson has published an email sent to Paul Tough, author of last week's "No Excuses" article in the New York Times, by one of its subjects, former Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter, who's been making the case that some good things are happening and shouldn't be torn down.  As you'll see, Alter agrees with the need for reformers to broaden their agenda and avoid excuse-making, acknowledges some flaws in his original remarks, and takes issue with the notion that progress shouldn't be considered as important as absolute achievement levels. "We shouldn't excuse 15 percent proficiency. But we also shouldn't run down year-to-year improvement. After all, that's what we want, isn't it?"  There are other emails included, sent by Wilson to Tough, the gist of which is that Tough's piece was an unfair slam on reformers, but nothing from Tough himself. My take on what the piece missed is here. Image via


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Update: Reformers Refute "No Excuses" Article:


Permalink URL for this entry:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

"it doesn't help the cause when a thoughtful, informed, knowledgeable friend like you makes us look clueless (or like jerks)"

...Actually, it made them look like liars.

"Their entire argument is built around excusing poor performance because of poverty," writes Alter. "Ours must not be."

Ours?!? Call me a crusty old cumudgeon, but I'm deeply uncomfortable with Alter's use of "theirs" and "ours" here. When journalists--even columnists--cross the line from analysis to advocacy, they become PR agents for a particular point of view and invite readers to disregard what they have to say on such matters.

I have a lot of respect for Alter, who I was acquainted with back in our respective newsmagazine days. Regardless of how I feel about the cause he has now overtly aligned himself with, this raises eyebrows. And hackles.

As always which comes first, the cause or the truth?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.