Don’t Back Down

An Open Letter to TFA: Don’t Back Down in Newark

HoodieDear Teach for America:

As an alum of your program, I like to keep apprised of your goings-on. Though we may have our differences, I always try to appreciate your bolder efforts. So I’m thrilled to see you taking a valiant stand in Newark, where the district is preparing to can over a thousand teachers without regard to seniority and in contravention of state tenure law. Remaining in a district so openly hostile to career educators must require not just millions from the Walton Family Foundation, but the bold resolve of knowing you’re part of the civil rights struggle of our generation.  Continue reading

PARCC Place

A cozy, clubby place where everyone is, well, connected and conflicts of interest don’t apply…

monopolymanWelcome to PARCC Place, reader! It’s a cozy, clubby place where everyone is, well, connected, united in a shared urgency over the fiercely urgent cause of our time: college and career readiness. In fact, so urgent is the cause of our time that the old rules about, say conflicts of interest, no longer apply. So relax, pour yourself a scotch (three fingers since no one’s watching) and prepare to stick around. For it turns out that PARCC Place is a whole lot easier to get into than it is to exit. Continue reading

Back to the Lab Again

In which I visit Arne Duncan’s alma mater on the hunt for *secret sauce*

The University of Chicago Lab Schools

The University of Chicago Lab Schools which Arne Duncan attended from K-12.

Reader: you are almost certainly aware that our Secretary of Education, Mr. Arne Duncan, has many excellent ideas regarding how to enhance the excellence of our failed and failing public schools. But did you ever pause to ask yourself *from whence did those ideas come?* It’s field trip time and our destination is none other than the very school that nurtured young Arne’s spirit: the University of Chicago Lab Schools, the bastion of progressive education founded by none other than John Dewey himself in 1896. And since I know that you are, at this very moment, administering a high-stakes test, I recently took it upon myself to drop in on the school on your behalf. Continue reading

Only a Test Question

A teacher wreaks havoc upon her students’ college-and-career readiness by denying them the test prep they’ve come to expect…

amplifystudentsBy Sarah Lahm
In a shocking display of misplaced priorities and poor judgment, a teacher in [INSERT NAME OF CITY OR TOWN HERE] made an irreparable error this week. Instead of *teaching to the test,* as she had been subtly, yet repeatedly, instructed to do, this teacher committed the unforgivable sin of teaching her students about the test. This shocking breach occurred in the middle of what used to be known as April but will hence forth and forever be known as National High Stakes Testing Month. Continue reading

Fishin’ 4 Schools

The CEO of Charter Schools USA puts his yacht, Fishin’ 4 Schools, up 4 sale

yachtsmanHave you ever encountered a story so sadly tragic that you were forced to break your own rule regarding pre-noon winebox decanting?  I have… Hankies at the ready, reader, for we are *going there.* I’m talking about the super sad true tale of Charter Schools USA founder and CEO Jonathan Hage and his wrenching decision to part with his yacht: the aptly named Fishin’ 4 Schools. In other words, onto every teak deck a little salt water must spray. It’s time to don your stripes, reader; we’re goin’ fishin’. Continue reading