A former KIPP teacher in New Orleans finds her voice
I was never much of a champion, to be honest. KIPP defines a successful teacher as someone who keeps children quiet, teaches children how to answer each question on a test composed of arbitrary questions, and then produces high scores on this test. Mind you, I was teaching Pre-K and then kindergarten at a KIPP school in New Orleans—and these were still the metrics by which I was being evaluated. Since my definition of a successful early childhood classroom looked very different from silence and test prep, I had to figure out how to survive. I lasted three years. Continue reading
Rocketship Education’s plan for intergalactic domination hits a rough patch
Editor’s note: Rocketship Education responded on Twitter that my post was *great fun to read* and contained *rocket word play to the max,* but that my *facts are a bit off.* For your reading pleasure, I’ve noted some of Rocketship’s specific issues with my claims and included some of the company’s responses at the end of the post—JCB
Once upon a time there was a boldly disruptive innovator who had a boldly disruptive idea. Why not turn old school schools into rocketships by fitting them with thrusters and boosters, then send them soaring into outer space where, thanks to zero gravity that keeps expectations buoyant, there is no achievement gap? Strap yourself in reader. We’re headed up, up and away to see for ourselves how this space-age disruption is faring.
Suspending huge numbers of minority students is bad—unless it’s done in the name of *college prep*
Suspending huge numbers of minority students is bad, bad, bad, as we learned this week from Obama administration officials. Which brings us to today’s high-stakes question: when is it fine, fine, fine for schools to have sky-high suspension rates? Answer: when said schools are academies of excellence and innovation that are *preparing students for college.* Ready the carabiner, reader—we’re about to scale the walls of Double Standards gulch. Continue reading
Tutors at a no-excuses charter school learn some hard lessons
Editor’s Note: The Boston Globe’s James Vaznis has a terrific investigatory piece into the working conditions of the city’s growing tutor corps. Stay tuned for more on this story as it’s far from over.
By Barrett Smith
Last December, I drove down to Boston from Middlebury College in Vermont where I was finishing my senior year. On a crisp Monday morning, I parallel parked, straightened my tie and walked into an interview to become a tutor at a “no excuses” charter school. A week later I had an offer sitting in my inbox, inviting me to become a member of the “Corps,” so called because the program used to be part of AmeriCorps. I was the first of my roommates to receive a job offer and joining the Corps sounded pretty damn good. Continue reading
An open letter to my students at a “no excuses” charter school in Boston
By Barrett Smith
Last month I resigned from my position as a tutor and teaching assistant at a “No-Excuses” Charter School in Boston. What follows is an open letter to my students.
First, I need to get something off my chest. I came to your middle school for some selfish reasons. I wanted to tutor you not only to help you but also to help myself. I came to Boston temporarily and as an outsider, looking for a year of training in skills that I could take with me to my future home, and to benefit my future students. Continue reading