I’ve long been the skunk at the garden party when it comes to folks cheerfully regaling one another with happy tales of wondrous schools, districts, and instructional programs. After all, I’m the guy who couldn’t get stoked about No Child Left Behind or small high schools or the Race to the Top or the teacher-evaluation binge or the Common Core. Of course, that’s all old news. The party is now filled with talk of social and emotional learning, career and technical education, “equitable” programming, early childhood, and such.

I’ve written before about how these new enthusiasms risk repeating the mistakes that helped turn earlier reforms from sensible efforts into self-defeating fads. In response, more than a few readers have reached out with a version

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