No matter how you parse it, the Dallas Independent School District's new do-over (or don't, whatever) policy when it comes to homework and tests doesn't sound good -- which is why it winds up on Page 2 of The Wall Street Journal this morning. The intention's good -- cutting dropout rates, and Dallas is No. 2 in the state, barely behind San Antonio -- but the road to hell and all that, say the Dallas teachers and parents interviewed for the story.
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Also not buying it: professors from the University of Washington and Northwestern University who think Dallas is teaching all the wrong lessons here. Says David Figlio, a professor of education policy and public economics at Northwestern: "It wouldn't surprise me at all if it helps on the margin with the dropout problem but ends up reducing the incentive for students to do well. This is a case in which there's no free lunch." --Robert Wilonsky