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Churlish

Apparently, that is what you are if you dare question anything about the educational system. In a book review I am writing on Goldin and Katz’s Race Between Education and Technology, I dared to say:

The existing K12 system cannot be improved until the political class recognizes the success of various school choice programs and honestly assesses the shocking lack of productivity and entrepreneurship within the sector

The editor responded:

A substantive comment on which you do not have to act: I think your strong claim in the previous sentence (“This will be increasingly difficult…”) is not very well supported by this sentence (“The existing K12 system…”), which states as a given, with no evidence, that (a) some school choice programs work, (b) the existing K12 sector is shockingly lacking in productivity and entrepreneurship, and (c) the “political class” fails to recognize those facts. These two sentences together will, I bet, alienate some readers (not me! -I have no opinions on the matter) unless the argument is beefed up a little, because they come across as churlish. But as I said, you don’t have to add anything–nor do you need to respond to this note. Thank you.]

The review is rather long, and we are instructed not to include long literature reviews, but that seems to be what the comment called for. I am not upset with the editor, not at all, but I think part of what is wrong with education in America is exemplified by this kind of response. Note that the only two substantive comments on the piece were in places where what I said would make an educational professional with an unconstrained vision squirm in his chair.

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