Nicholas Lemann quotes

  • Profound question is how do you measure the non-skills component of what goes on in schools: values, curiosity, critical thinking, and so on. That's very tough. Maybe everything worthwhile can't be measured.
    -- Nicholas Lemann

    #School #Thinking #Skills

  • One of the most consistent findings about low performing schools and students is that "home variables" (parental income and education, etc.) are more predictive than "school variables." But, having said that, we as a society can have much more effect on the school variables than on the home variables, so it's important and valuable to focus on the question of which interventions in schools are most effective and which are least effective.
    -- Nicholas Lemann

    #Home #School #Focus

  • I am always suspicious of the formulation that "politics" has prevented a great idea from being enacted by government. Politics IS government, in a democratic society. It's a challenge for school reformers, like reformers in any realm, to build a popular constituency for their work. If the people it's supposed to benefit vote against it, that tells me that the person pushing reform lacks political skill. And political skill is a good thing.
    -- Nicholas Lemann

    #School #Government #Skills

  • I think serious research tends to be associated with higher academic quality, more prestige, more resources, and even, heaven help us, better teaching, to a greater extent than you might think. Folks who don't have an active intellectual life become, though the long years of just teaching, less intellectually alive and exciting.
    -- Nicholas Lemann

    #Teaching #Thinking #Years

  • I am not against standardized tests. There are tests and tests and tests, and, to simplify, the ones I favor are criterion-referenced tests of skills, aligned with the curriculum. Social and emotional skills are important but skills are too. I find it heartbreaking that this is so often seen as an either-or choice. To get to the richness of studying literature, for example, you must first be an adept and confident reader. Whether you are is something a good test can measure.
    -- Nicholas Lemann

    #Emotional #Skills #Choices

  • In the current environment, attributing low student performance to teacher tenure is one of the great unproven causal links out there. The relationship just hasn't been examined very carefully, but we should all recognize that in higher education the strongest institutions generally have the most robust tenure systems, and in elementary and secondary, the states with the strongest teacher unions (and tenure systems) tend to have the highest student performance.
    -- Nicholas Lemann

    #Teacher #Links #Unions

  • You can't create a successful politics of support for public education on the basis of asking voters not to care about skills, and tests that measure skills, at all.
    -- Nicholas Lemann

    #Successful #Skills #Support

  • In journalism, especially, we tend to deal with large, complex systems by finding especially interesting people and story lines to focus on.
    -- Nicholas Lemann

    #People #Interesting #Focus

  • From the time I read my first Hemingway work, The Sun Also Rises, as a student at Soldan High School in St. Louis, I was struck with an affliction common to my generation: Hemingway Awe.

  • Brain power improves by brain use, just as our bodily strength grows with exercise. And there is no doubt that a large proportion of the female population, from school days to late middle age, now have very complicated lives indeed.

  • Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don't need little changes. We need gigantic revolutionary changes. . . . Competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be getting six-figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge for its citizens, just like national defense." --Sam Seaborne, West Wing

  • I was a very awkward high schooler, especially in early high school. I had the middle part with a swoop, all that. It was the late ’90s!

  • Talk. We are going to talk first. I want to see you smile and laugh. I want to know what your favorite show was when you were a kid and who made you cry at school and what boy band you hung posters of on your wall. Then I want you naked in my bed again.

  • Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

  • A quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business.

  • It's populated by people who, by and large, have terrific communication skills. Every day is an extraordinary day. For me, it was just a great area for storytelling.

  • But the transformation of consciousness undertaken in Taoism and Zen is more like the correction of faulty perception or the curing of a disease. It is not an acquisitive process of learning more and more facts or greater and greater skills, but rather an unlearning of wrong habits and opinions. As Lao-tzu said, "The scholar gains every day, but the Taoist loses every day.

  • The formulation of the problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill.