Some Advice for My Critics

I have been more than thrilled by the response to my new book. Today it is #10 on the New York Times best seller list, next week it will be #15. My guess is that as more educators and parents read it, they will recommend it to others. I hope they will form study groups to discuss the issues it raises. My hope was to provide indisputable facts about where we are, and research-based evidence about what we need to do to improve our schools and our society-not one first, then the other, but both.

As you might expect, the book is controversial because it disputes the popular narrative that our schools are failing and broken, that we must do all sorts of things that have never been done before, must test more often, more than any other nation in the world, must fire teachers and principals, lay off guidance counselors, social workers and librarians, eliminate the arts to make more time for testing, and close schools. And if we do all these things, someday, all schools will be great!

Humbug, I say. A hoax, I say.

Speaking plainly, however, is dangerous, if you are a woman. When men speak plainly and mince no words, they are direct and forceful. When women speak plainly and mince no words, they are abrasive, harsh, and just plain -- well -- rude. The same people who object to my tone waste no time denouncing me in abusive language. I will not deign to notice them. Nor will they intimidate me by their swagger.

So, to pay tribute to those who want me to be quiet and deferential, here is a video for them. Enjoy.