For most of my career at Time
and other magazines, I worked hard to avoid education stories. If my editors asked me to write about schools or tests, I countered with an idea about terrorism, plane crashes, or a pandemic flu. That usually worked.
I didn’t say so out loud, but education stories seemed, well, kind of soft. The articles tended to be headlined in chalkboard font and festooned with pencil doodles. They were brimming with good intentions but not much evidence. The people quoted were mostly adults; the kids just turned up in the photos, smiling and silent.