A reader attended my presentation last night at Politics& Prose, a great DC bookstore that regularly hosts authors p. y
The reader explains that the reform movement ignores science, which dooms it to failure:

“Dear Diane, As a loyal follower of your blog I enjoyed your last evening’s visit to Politics and Prose in D.C. I would like to add, because I am a Professor of Neurology, Pediatrics and Psychiatry with 40 years of research into developmental disabilities of the “mild/nearly normal variety” ( allowing me huge control groups of typically developing children) that all of the initialives of the last nearly 15 years, not only Common Core, are failing also because they ignore the brains of developing children and all learning theories relevant to education. Because their eyes are on “benchmarks” they mistakenly think that pushing skills earlier at every level will hit the testing “benchmarks,” so they are entirely unrealistic about developmental readiness and essentially do the equivalent of “trying to get blood from a stone.” Gesell Institute experts addressed this, as cited in your blog, for early childhood. And it is equally true of starting middle school too early, giving homework too early in the school career, and starting Algebra in seventh grade, all of which reflect ignorance of where the executive functions of the majority of children are/are not ready for more time management, materiel management, organization/prioritization of study, and so forth. Needless to say, being neurodevelopmentally ill equipped to tackle skills thrown at them leads to hatred of school, anxiety and depression about themselves, and longlasting damage, even in affluent “good” schools. This ignoring of the developmental appropriateness of demands for skills at every step K-12 has worsened what were the “good” public school systems and certainly carry part of the blame for “failure to thrive” in those schools in which, as you so eloquently expressed last evening, poverty, instability and cultural deprivation carry the majority of the variance in which schools “succeed” and which “fail.” Do you think it would do any good to carry this message to the ignorant test obsessed “reformers” so that even complacently good schools can see the harm done to developing children and adolescents, how we are literally pushing more of them over the “learning disabled” border by “racing to the top” as much as with “no child left behind” ?”