Arthur Camins is director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. When Camins read Paul Thomas’s latest commentary about the lack of evidence behind reform strategies, he wrote the following:

“Over the past several years I have read countless articles and books all saying basically the same thing: The foundations of current education reform – competition, reward, sanctions and consequential testing – are not supported by evidence. In fact, they are contraindicated. Their use as policy levers promotes competition rather than collaboration, teaching to the test rather than deeper sustainable learning and increased school segregation. Many have expressed incredulity that reform supporters ignore evidence. Maybe it is not so surprising.

I think there are two explanations.

The first is the power of ideological blinders and hubris or what I called in an earlier article, The Fog of the Education War. (

The second explanation is different goals and values. I, and many other critics of current reform strategies place high value on education for democratic participation and responsible citizenship, educational equity for all and deeper learning. We have argued that charter schools, merit pay and over-testing undermine those goals. Maybe “reformers” know this too, but do not object. Maybe they want different things. Maybe they accept inequality as a fact of life. And, some may be just out to make a buck.

The question is which road will we choose – improvement for all or just a few. (”