The High Cost of No Excuses

Professor Joan Goodman, the director of the Teach for America program at the University of Pennsylvania, talks about the philosophy behind *no excuses* charter schools, and the price paid by students who attend them.

walking in lineEduShyster: You’re the author of an article called Charter Management Organizations and the Regulated Environment: Is It Worth the Price? that’s the single best overview of *no excuses* charter schools that I’ve seen. Talk a little about the research you’ve been doing.

Joan Goodman: I began to focus on charter schools when the first Mastery Charter School was started in Philadelphia. These were supposed to be experimental schools which would have a variety of new approaches and they’d get rid of bureaucracy and we’d see all kinds of novel approaches to children. But particularly in terms of the charter management organizations they haven’t provided much variety—they’re all strikingly similar to one another. These schools have a very clear philosophy about what they’re trying to do, how they’re trying to do it, what they think is necessary, who they read, who their leaders are. And they’re explicit in describing it. The combination of the uniformity across these different schools and their explicitness about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it makes it easier to get hold of this movement than it is with say, public schools in a city or a school district where there’s so much variety and there isn’t a single philosophy. Continue reading

When Edu Sharks Attack!

At the intersection of business and education policy lurk the *sharks*…

Shark-Tank-logo1Reader: have you ever found yourself binge watching Shark Tank and thinking that if anyone has the cure for our failed and failing public school it’s the sharks? Why, just the smoldering gaze of billionaire Mark Cuban is enough to spike achievement rates. And what if the *Queen of QVC,* Lori Greiner, could come up with a way for choosy choosers to order high-performing seats right through their TVs? Well, it turns out that great minds think outside the same box. I give you Ed Shark Tank—an idea so great that you didn’t even know you were waiting for it. Continue reading

Can We Talk? (I Mean Really…)

The 49er says that Education Post can’t start a conversation—because its founders and funders already have all of the answers.

can we talkBy *The 49er*
In a recent offline conversation, EduShyster and I were trying to figure out a name for the group of people that are opposing reformers. You see reformers are easy to place in a camp. Even though there are internal fights on issues such as Common Core and the role of the federal government in education, there is general agreement that there need to be major changes to public education in America. But the camp which is fighting those reformers (and probably most of the people reading this post) isn’t so easy to define. Harvard Professor Jal Mehta defines this camp as  traditionalists. (Why do I suspect that EduShyster is bristling at the use of that term?) [Editorial note: she is!] Continue reading

Rich Student, Poor Student

Students in Salem, MA learn a hard lesson about class

backtoschoolDear [insert name here]:
Welcome back to school, Salem, MA student! If you’ll be attending this school, this school or this school, let me take this opportunity to congratulate you. Like the mariners of yore, your parents successfully navigated the treacherous shoals of Salem’s school *choice* system. And that’s great news for you because it means that you’ll be having your *whole child* educated this year, including the part of you that loves art, music and super cool project-based learning. As for those of you who’ll be going to this school, this school, this school or this school, well, your education is going to look just a little bit different. Shall we pop in and see? Continue reading

Fatuous Pablum

David Kirp says that teaching isn’t a business—and that makes a lot of people really mad…

kirp-improbablescholars1EduShyster: Let me try to break this to you gently. Your recent New York Times piece, Teaching Is Not a Business, didn’t win you a lot of friends on Twitter. In fact, one of your detractors referred to your entire oeuvre as *fatuous pablum.*

David Kirp: Wow—I seem to have provoked, not just outrage, but a mixed metaphor. Pablum, which is actually spelled pabulum, is something you eat.

EduShyster: Perhaps the point was that if one consumes too much pablum, one grows fatuous. I’m curious though, did you hear from any of your critics directly? Continue reading