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

Tip of the Cap, Wag of the Finger

HatTipCartoonIt’s the height of charter cap-lifting season here in Massachusetts, which means that talk of excellence and achievement abounds—along with plenty of wagging fingers (read threats) aimed at those who would dare to stand in the way of excellence and achievement. And things officially took a turn for the crazy this week when the fervent anti-cap-sters at the Pioneer Institute charged the state’s Secretary of Education with *anti-charter bigotry,* a disorder that will soon have its own entry in the DSMContinue reading

Why I Stopped Teaching Like a Champion

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

Planet Ponzi

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.

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Broken Windows Schooling

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