Dana Goldstein

Dana Goldstein, a former associate editor and writer at the Prospect, comes from a family of public school educators. She received the Spencer Fellowship in Education Journalism, a Schwarz Fellowship at the New America Foundation, and a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellowship at the Nation Institute. Her journalism is regularly featured in SlateThe AtlanticThe NationThe Daily Beast, and other publications, and she is a staff writer at the Marshall Project. 

Recent Articles

Health Reform Better for Poor than Middle Class. How Did We Get Here?

Matt Yglesias notes the Wall Street Journal is reporting that in his big speech to Congress tonight, President Obama will reaffirm his commitment to a public option -- a dinky public option . This awesome chart from Nick Beaudrot shows exactly how dinky it is; the pink boxes represent the public option. But it also demonstrates something else about health reform that you won't hear any Democrat say: It does more to help the destitute poor than the working or middle class. Even Max Baucus ' compromise plan , which contains no new public insurance option, expands Medicaid to all Americans below 133 percent of poverty. Currently, Medicaid is open only to pregnant women, children, single mothers, and the disabled. After reform, healthy, single adults will be eligible. That's a major progressive victory, and it's possible because insurance companies aren't interested in this segment of the population, which can't afford to enter the private market. Government can choose to expand here...

Israeli Agency Pulls Offensive TV Ad.

Last week I wrote about a TV advertisement funded by the Israeli government, in which Diaspora Jews who intermarry are portrayed as victims of kidnapping. The advertisement showed photographs of young American, French, and Russian Jews on "LOST" posters -- the kind you'd see for an abducted child. The narrator warned, "More than 50 percent of young Jews assimilate," referring to a widely accepted statistic for intermarriage in the Diaspora. The ad was intended to encourage Israeli Jews to tell their Diaspora relatives about MASA, a study abroad program. Now MASA and the Israeli Agency have pulled the ad, admitting it offended many Jews in the Diaspora. But in its statement , MASA obscures the issue, claiming that the ads were "misinterpreted" by the press as an attack on intermarriage. But as J.J. Goldberg explains in The Forward , there is a long history of the intermarriage rate being conflated with the "assimilation" rate, even though there is ample evidence that many "half-Jewish...

Admin Continues Merit Pay Push. What Does Research Say?

One of the major developments in education policy this year has been the Obama administration's continued, focused attention on the issue of merit pay, despite a lack of strong evidence linking such programs to increased student achievement. On Sunday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appeared on " Face the Nation " and reiterated this agenda. So it's worthwhile to take a look at what social science has to tell us about merit pay. Consider this TED talk on career motivation from Dan Pink , a former Al Gore speechwriter who is now a business journalist. If you can get past the MBA lingo, there's a lot here that is really consequential for education policy. Forty years of psychological research demonstrates that when someone is faced with a complex, creative task -- like teaching -- money is an ineffective motivational tool, and may even delay progress. Professionals engaged in creative work are more likely to be motivated by autonomy, and by the feeling that they are part of a larger...

The Real Indoctrination Threat.

Republicans worry that President Obama telling schoolchildren to work hard, in a televised address, is "socialist indoctrination." But what about conservative indoctrination, the kind the Texas Board of Education is considering? Justin Elliott of TPM reports : The first draft of the [new] standards, released at the end of July, is a doozy. It lays out a kind of Human Events version of U.S. history. Approved textbooks, the standards say, must teach the Texan student to "identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly, and the Moral Majority." No analogous liberal figures or groups are required, prompting protests from some legislators and committee members. (Read an excerpt here .) The standards on Nixon: "describe Richard M. Nixon's role in the normalization of relations with China and the policy of detente." On Reagan: "describe Ronald Reagan's role in restoring national confidence, such as Reaganomics and Peace with...

Is Obama's Speech to Schoolchildren "Socialist?"

Next Tuesday, President Obama will address the nation's schoolchildren. The White House says the speech is a "welcome back to school" message that will emphasize the importance of academic achievement to the country's future -- the same theme as the education portion of Obama's February speech to Congress. The White House also provided teachers with suggested lesson plans for the speech. The original plans called for teachers and students to discuss questions including, "What is the President asking me to do?" and "Is he asking anything of anyone else? Teachers? Principals? Parents? The American people?" Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer complained Tuesday that the speech and lessons were an attempt "to spread President Obama's socialist ideology." Other Republicans followed suit, expressing concerns. So now the administration has revised the lesson plan to emphasize a discussion of "how [students] can achieve their short‐term and long‐term education goals." The Dallas Morning News has a...

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