The Real Housewives of Corporate Education Reform

What does the corporate education reform movement have in common with the many outstanding reality TV shows that EduShyster secretly enjoys? If you answered “silicon” you are partially right. Like Gretchen, Tamra and Alexis, the myriad organizations that make up the #edreform movement can be very difficult to tell apart. (EduShyster is longing for the day when all of the groups will gather for a Real Housewives-style reunion, laying into one another with shrill accusations of “fakeness.”) Continue reading

Stand for Children: Where Did You Go????

Hey Stand–wait up! Where are you guys going??? What if I fall into the achievement gap???

Remember the final throes of Stand for Children’s successful hostage taking campaign push for legislative reform? Why just a few weeks ago it was impossible to avoid Stand’s tremendous corporate funded megaphone grassroots outpouring, as they blanketed the state with ads, email blasts, tweets status updates, even texts about their campaign to get rid of experienced teachers and replace them with cheaper ones put teacher effectiveness first.

The EduShyster’s tweet stream was literally clogged with urgent messages from @JasonWilliamsMA and @MassStand to the tune of:  “There is still work to be done to ensure every child has a chance at a bright & successful future,” and “We Are Stand for Children. We work together to ensure that every MA child has access to Great Teachers & Great Schools.”

But no sooner had Governor Patrick heeded the pressure of Stand’s blackmail campaign army of grassroots supporters than Stand went dark.That’s right: not so much as a single tweet, blog update, or web announcement since July 3rd. Stand: do you know how many students have fallen into the achievement gap since then??? Jason??? That one teacher who appears in all of your promotional materials??? Where did everybody go??? Continue reading

Every Child Deserves a Teacher of the Year*

*Even if that teacher has no experience or credentials

Like you, I need to start each day by consuming a steaming nugget of wisdom from edu-genius Michelle Rhee. That’s how I know that most, if not all, of our nation’s BEST teachers are brand new to the classroom and are free from the burden of unnecessary credentials. So how unfair is it that most states won’t even allow these top teachers to be considered in their annual Teacher of the Year contests? That’s right: at this very moment a state bureaucrat is passing over a newly minted edu-starlet in favor of some LIFO lifer whose only accomplishment (other than being nominated as a top teacher by his or her peers) is hanging on.

We need a campaign to fix this injustice ASAP, and I know just who should lead it.

To: jwilliams@stand.org
From: Your biggest edu-fan

Dear Jason: Every child deserves a Teacher of the Year, wouldn’t you agree? And yet too many of our children are denied the opportunity of being taught by a Teacher of the Year because states like Massachusetts and California refuse to recognize that the BEST teachers often lack experience and credentials. Won’t you take the lead and fix this egregious injustice once and for all?

Your own personal story–your ‘race to the top,’ as I’ve come to think of it–will be essential as we try to roll back these stifling Teacher of the Year regulations. Imagine how inspiring it will be for others in your brand new shoes to hear the story of how you overcame California’s onerous and burdensome requirements that Teacher of the Year nominees have 1) at least 7 years in the classroom and 2) a teaching license. I mean, my God, when will the ceaseless punishment of excellence finally cease?

Naturally we will need to consider legislation to fix this, perhaps using a threatened ballot initiative for leverage. I’ll leave the details up to you and Jonah…

Yours
Horace

Hat tip to Boston teacher @columwhyte for alerting me to the fact that Williams, a TFA alum, retired from teaching at age 23, unlicensed after a year and 10 months in the classroom.

Stand for Cash: Follow the Money

This little turd of a quote from Jason Williams in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette recently caught my eye. When asked about Stand’s big corporate funders, Walmart, Bain, et al, Williams responded with his trademark rhetorical snakeishness:

Mr. Williams, of Stand For Children, noted that the Massachusetts chapter is not funded by the big national foundations. Its major source of funding here is Strategic Grant Partners, a nonprofit educational foundation that has made grants to the state education department, Boston and Springfield school systems, charter schools and other education programs.

Now unlike Mr. Williams I am not a “life-long educator,” nor have I ever been nominated for state Teacher of the Year, yet I am still outstanding enough to know when I’m being hoodwinked. Here’s the document that Stand filed with the state after spending $350 large to run their phony ads on every media outlet in Massachusetts. The edushysters who make up Stand’s Massachusetts chapter like to pretend that they’re independent from their national office–except when it’s time to cash the checks.

To see just how attached Stand is to the corporate teat, check out this TiddlyWiki created by a former activist who broke with Stand after the group came down with a serious case of corporate-funded edu-fever. Stand’s list of 2010 contributors includes not just Walton and Gates, but the Daniels Foundation, created by wingnut Bill Daniels, a right-wing cable television mogul“who achieved success through a combination of perseverance and good fortune.” What are the chances?

Is Jason Williams the Best Teacher in the History of the World?

Stand’s Jason Williams claims to have been nominated as teacher of the year in California after just two years in the classroom. But teachers in California aren’t even eligible for the award until they’ve taught for at least 8 years.

No doubt you are aware by now that Jason Williams, chief of the odious (and misnamed) Stand for Children in Massachusetts, was an OUTSTANDING teacher. For reminders of Williams’ outstanding-ness see here, here, here and here

But now it turns out that Williams is even more outstanding than we previously thought. After teaching for just two years at an Oakland, CA middle school, Williams claims to have been nominated as California’s Middle School Teacher of the Year. Pretty impressive, yes? Well, Williams’ accomplishment is even more dazzling when you consider that the California Teacher of the Year program is only open to teachers who’ve been in the classroom for at least 8 years… 

I know–I had the same thought. I bet Williams was SO effective that 2 of his years in the classroom were worth 4 years with your average teacher. (That seems to be Williams’ own view—he repeatedly refers to himself as a “life-long educator.”) In other words, surely the state of California had to make an exception when confronted with the sheer force of Williams’ outstandingness. But when an enterprising Boston teacher called the California Department of Education to inquire, he got the predictable response: laughter. Turns out that rules are rules, even for someone of Williams’ outstandingness. 

It’s fitting when you think about it. Stand for Children poses as a grass roots group while receiving millions from Walmart, JP Morgan and Bain Capital. Meanwhile Stand’s Massachusetts chief is a charlatan who has exaggerated his own teaching credentials in order to peddle phony edu-reform.