Joanne Barkan writes on politics and economics for adults; she also writes verse and fiction for young readers. She is the author of Visions of Emancipation: The Italian Workers Movement Since 1945 and over 120 works for children. She began investigating the education "reform" movement about two years ago. She lives in Manhattan and on Cape Cod.
The line of battle for the future of public education is clear. The first side has money, powerful political connections, and an infrastructure of nonprofit organizations with paid staff. The other side has this: the ability to become a true grassroots movement.
School reform efforts across the country hang on the notion of annual teacher evaluations based heavily on student test scores. But if this process isn’t consistently accurate, it will get the wrong teachers fired and discourage talented people from entering the profession.