The headline of this post is obviously a play on the famous opening line in Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities”:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”

What a day for education policy!

First, the wisdom:

Two good articles on the PISA test scores were published, and I’m adding them to The Best Sites For Getting Some Perspective On International Test Comparison Demagoguery:

PISA For Our Time: A Balanced Look is another excellent post from The Shanker blog.

To foster high-achievers, think beyond the classroom by Robert Samuelson in the Washington Post (who has missed the mark in the past while writing about education issues, but does a good job here)

In other examples of wisdom, More questions for KIPP was published in the Washington Post, and I’m adding it to The Best Posts & Articles Analyzing Charter Schools.

Barnett Berry from The Center For Teaching Quality follows-up Bruce Baker’s excellent analysis of a Fordham Institute report in As we stretch the school dollar, let’s not rip out the seams of our public system with some wise questions of his own.

And, with Martin Luther King Day approaching, teacher Brian Jones writes about Dr. King and the Achievement Gap.

And, now, for the foolishness:

Michelle Rhee published her manifesto (how many of these has she come-up with) using the Orwellian language of “elevating the teaching profession” by attacking teachers. You can read a summary in The Wall Street Journal and her own column here.

A New York judge ruled that the School District can publicly release the names of teachers and their “Teacher Data Reports.” Here is what the judge said (and I kid you not):

“The UFT’s argument that the data reflected in the TDRs should not be released because the TDRs are so flawed and unreliable as to be subjective is without merit,” the judge wrote, citing legal precedent that “there is no requirement that data be reliable for it to be disclosed.”

The union is appealing the ruling (readers who want to learn about the Los Angeles Times fiasco when they publicized teacher rankings by test score might want to read The Best Posts About The LA Times Article On “Value-Added” Teacher Ratings.

Ben Austin, the key figure behind the so-called “parent trigger” law (and who was removed from the California State Board of Education this week) wrote a piece in the Huffington Post that sounded a note of desperation in attacking teachers, the Compton School District and the PTA.

Let’s hope that we continue to see and hear more wisdom than foolishness….