The "letter to the editor" is a fun form. The word-length constraint forces a nice directness and economy. Here's me on "The Secrets of a Good Principal," in 150 words:
I don’t know whether Jacqui Getz is a good principal. She may or may not be, but Mr. Winerip’s column sheds no light on the matter. From the column we learn that Getz works hard; that she espouses union-friendly opinions about teacher evaluation (but not that she acts on them); that she talks to students; and that she wears high-heels.
I’ve observed classes at PS 126 and happen to know that over the last few years, it ran a highly innovative literacy program that produced impressive results and inspired other schools. Is this program still in place? Is Ms. Getz supporting or revamping it? These are details that a responsible journalist might report on.
But this column is not journalism, and it leaves the public none the wiser. This kind of negligent reporting is damaging to the entire public debate about education, and The Times ought not to publish it.