I really am surprised to see so many ordinarily thoughtful national columnists — ones who I generally like — show such poor judgment when they write about schools.

The only times when I’ve read David Brooks and he sounds somewhat incoherent is when he writes about education (see What Is Going On With David Brooks?) and you can sometimes almost see Ruben Navarrete foaming at the mouth (see Boy, Did Ruben Navarrete Get Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed This Morning!).

The latest is Matthew Yglesias, who, in his post The False Promise of Class Size Reduction, was completely taken in by a recent study from the Center For American Progress supposedly showing that class size reduction was not effective. The comments on his post pointed out a number of his, and the report’s, errors, and Bruce Baker completely demolished the data and premise of the report.

What is it that blinds these columnists? In fact, what is it that does the same to so many school reformers and legislators? Do they think that since they went to school when they were children, that makes them experts in figuring out how they should be run? They all have gone to see a doctor at some point, too, but they don’t seem to be as critical or prescriptive about how they think a medical professionals should treat their patients.

Help me out here — what do you think?

(When Bad Ideas Happen to Good Columnists is an excellent post by Robert Pondiscio responding to this issue)