Diane Ravitch lays it out in her Daily News commentary. "We are reaching a perilous stage where the test scores go up while real education - the kind that is available in the best schools - disappears."
The lost 18 minutes
WaPo's Jay Mathews was posing as a voice of reason when he came out against the broadcast of Obama's back-to-school speech. After all, he argued, the speech would take up valuable class time. It probably took Mathews the better part of a day to think up that excuse. But Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg makes minced meat out of it in a few well-crafted sentences:
"Instructional time is very precious." Since when? Don't they still blow days at a time, cramming for and then administering standardized tests? Every school in America burns hours with hygiene filmstrips and boredom. But Barack Obama appears, and suddenly they're all too busy to look up for 18 minutes.