Charter Cap ‘n Gown II: The College Years

A new report finds that Boston’s charter high schools are sending kids on a path through college, one at a time…

kindergarten_cap_gowns‘Tis time for another stroll down the path to college, reader. Alas, you will need to *suck in your gut* for this one as this path turns out to be even narrower than when last we stepped upon it. The occasion for our ramble down readiness way is a new report on college completion by graduates of Boston high schools. Alas, alas, the report, which was supposed to confirm, once and for all, Boston charter excellence, fell a tad short, finding that grads of BPS high schools were more likely to complete college than their charter peers. But a deep dive into the data reveals that there’s even more — or rather, less — to this story than meets the eye. Continue reading →

Upper Crust: How Billionaires Are Eating Our Democracy

Darrell West warns that the combination of wealth and secrecy is toxic to democracy…

EduShyster: Your book, Billionaires: Reflections on the Upper Crust, makes the forceful – and might I add *hair-raising* – case that today’s brand of billionaire activism is eating our democracy. Break it down for us.

billionaires

Darrell West: I do think that combination is toxic for democracy because voters care as much about the messenger as the message and they want to know who is behind particular advocacy efforts. It matters to them whether an oil company or some other firm is pushing a position on energy. There’s been a tremendous loss of accountability within our political system over several decades. There are Supreme Court decisions that have eroded public disclosure, and there are lots of lobbying activities and other efforts to exercise influence that take place outside of the public view. People should be aware of this and concerned about how it’s affecting our political process. Continue reading →

Separate but Innovative: MLK 2.0

If Martin Luther King Jr. returned today, would he be an achievement gaptivist? And which billionaires would fund his important work?

No one could lead a civil rights movement like Martin Luther King Jr. But let’s face it: the movement he led was old school. The civil rights issue of our time is the achievement gap, and closing it often requires doing the opposite of what Dr. King stood for. Which raises some important questions: if Dr. King returned today would he be an achievement gaptivist? Which billionaires would fund his important work? And with poverty and racism now officially regarded as excuses, what would he talk about? Meet Martin Luther King 2.0, now with more excellence.

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Philadelphia: City of Choice

The City of Brotherly Love will soon be the City of Choice—unless your choice is a neighborhood school…

choice11By Susan DeJarnatt
Thanks to the Pennsylvania state legislature, Philadelphia now has no choice but to accept applications for new charter schools. The forty proposed schools envision more than 40,000 new seats—*high performing seats* naturally; is there any other kind? Should all 40 schools be approved—rejects get a chance to appeal to a state board—the cost to the School District of Philadelphia would be $280 million, a death blow to a district that suffered budget cuts in 2013 and 2014 that the superintendent himself called catastrophic. The City of Brotherly Love will soon be the City of Choice. Unless your choice is to attend your neighborhood school, then you don’t have much choice at all.
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Charlie Baker’s Army

The Bay State’s new governor has a bold plan to bring fresh New Schools to Massachusetts…

charlie-baker-via-charliebaker2014-media-site-630x411It’s a new day in Massachusetts, reader. And the Bay State’s new captain, Charlie Baker, has a bold new plan to at last un-stifle our long-suffering schools: fresh New Schools. But there’s a hitch, or rather a cap. You see, Massachusetts has a cap on fresh New Schools that Governor Baker must figure out how to uncap in order to give the people New Schools, whether they want them or not. Now he could move to boldly seize another entire school district, a la Lawrence, as the state is said to be days from doing in Holyoke, and impose New Schools. Or Baker could go the legislative route and use the bully pulpit to push lawmakers to uncap the cap. But democracy is soooooo old school, especially when it comes to a cause as fiercely urgent as replacing our old schools with fresh New Schools. Continue reading →