Data Drives the Bus (Over a Cliff)

And some parents say *enough* to a district’s assessment craze…

bus 3It’s field trip time and today we’re headed to the scenic seaside community of Salem, Massachusetts. When last we stopped by to *discover the magic of Salem,* we also discovered a school system gone wild for *bigger rigor,* especially for young Salem-ites who hail from the city’s less, well, luxurious lanes. But one child’s opportunity gap is an opportunity for a savvy eduprenueur, and edupreneurial opportunities abound here these days. Buckle up reader, because it’s time to board the data bus. Continue reading →

Tennessee Thunderdome

When schools are forced to compete for survival, everybody loses…

By Andy Spears
thunderdomeEducation reformers everywhere are looking to Tennessee for the newest way to blow up the system and disrupt the status quo. The new approach comes via Nashville, where both the local school system and the state’s Achievement School District are busy handing over *priority schools* to charter operators. The new twist is that two schools compete to determine which will be converted to a charter. Think the education reform equivalent of Thunderdome: two schools enter, only one leaves.  Continue reading →

Karen Lewis Talks Protests, Politics & Getting Back in the Mix

karen 3EduShyster: Chicago, like many cities, is seeing big protests over police brutality. I’m wondering if you see any connection between these protests and the discontent over school closures in the city’s poor neighborhoods that continues to simmer today. 

Karen Lewis: We don’t really like to talk about race and class, but they underpin both of these issues. I’m 61 years old, which means I went through the original Civil Rights Movement—it’s not just history to me. But I also know from history that the extra-judicial killing of Black men is nothing new in our society. The difference is that we have social media, we have recordings, and so you have a movement of people demanding accountability. What’s been really interesting to me is that you see the same concepts emerging whether we’re talking about policing or education: compliance, obedience and a loss of dignity. I’m going to tell you what to do and if you don’t do it, I’ll just take your life. The same with schools: if you don’t do what I tell you to do, I’ll just take your school. To me, this is a very interesting co-mingling of what justice really looks like and it’s very different for different people.  Continue reading →

Support Your Friendly Neighborhood Edu Blogger

The man to whom I’m *technically* married, AKA the Littlest Bolshevik.

Blame the omnipresent holiday nog, but this is typically the time of year in which some of my boldest, most disruptive ideas flutter into being. Take, for example, last year’s stroke of brilliance, in which I decided to outsource my yuletide request for funds to the man to whom I’m *technically* married. While this resulted in few actual donations, it did produce a wealth of questions—like how does he manage to do all of the cooking if his fist is always clenched in solidarity? So this year I’m going with a more straightforward approach. I’m going to describe exactly what I’ve got planned for 2015, and ask for your help in making it happen. Happy holidays, reader, and let’s hoist some nog to what looks to be a very exciting year…  Continue reading →

Conversations in Crazytown

What’s the Republican state agenda for *reforming* our public schools? The 49er listens in…

By *The 49er*
crazy-townToday’s high-stakes trivia question: which state has a non-partisan, unicameral legislature? The answer: *Nebraska,* or one of the 69 of the nation’s 99 statehouses now controlled by Republicans. Another high-stakes question: What does this mean for the future of public education in this country? Will the Republicans out reform the Democrats for Education Reform? We’ll get an early glimpse this spring as legislators in many states meet to determine the future direction of education policy and funding.

My job requires me to meet with new legislators after each election cycle. Alas, I can’t tell you who I’ve been talking to without losing that job. But the conversations I’ve been having are too entertaining—and at times, alarming—not to share with the world. What follows is a sample conversation, based on actual exchanges, with a newly elected conservative legislator in my state. My translations appear in italics. Continue reading →