Everybody Loves Lawrence

But do they love her for the right reasons?

lawrenceOh Lawrence, you city by the Spicket, you. It seems like only yesteryear that everyone who was anyone was writing the damndest things about your poorest-burg-in-Massachusetts self. And here you are – not just grown up, but blown up. The edupreneurial set suddenly can’t get enough of you. Your story is even bandied about across the pond. And who’s that I see checking you out from a few states over, Lawrence? Why if that isn’t New York looking you up and down… Continue reading →

Gopher State of Confusion

Minnesota’s charter experiment comes up short, while elsewhere in the Gopher state a Loon rises…

By Sarah Lahm, EduShyster Academy 
confusedGopher state hearts and minds are in a state of confusion these days, thanks to the simultaneous appearance of two head-spinning headlines. First came this stunning jolt to the system (the charter system, that is): It turns out that charter schools, even the ones in Minnesota (our license plates say *First in Charter Schools!*), may not be the magical, miraculous, free market answer to our public school problems we’ve been led to believe. Continue reading →

The Case of the Disappearing Data

Louisiana’s Nancy Drew gets her hands on those elusive ACT scores…

Nancy_Drew_80_211EduShyster: Let’s get right to the question that’s on all of our minds. Is that John White as handsome as he looks in his pictures?

Mercedes Schneider: Well, it depends on how you define handsome. I personally find honesty to be an attractive trait…

EduShyster: You broke a big story over the weekend. Somehow you managed to get your hands on Louisiana’s 2014 ACT scores, which the state Department of Education didn’t seem to want to release. What do the numbers tell you?

Schneider: They’re terrible. I go over them in more detail here, but what you need to know is that the composite ACT score for the schools in New Orleans’ Recovery School District dropped from the year before, and that for individual high schools the scores are in the 13, 14 and 15 range. For comparison’s sake, to get into Louisiana State one needs an ACT score of 22—a minimum of 19 in math and an 18 in English. But what really stands out to me is that the students in New Orleans who took the ACT in 2014 were in 3rd grade when Katrina hit. Even if you have students who didn’t return to the city for two years, that means they’ve been attending these charter schools since 5th grade. That’s how long they’ve been subject to this experiment. You look at these numbers and it’s clear why John White didn’t want them to be made public. Continue reading →

Who Does Peter Greene Think He Is?

In which I interrogate the one-man writing machine known as Curmudgucation…

p haircut

A young Peter Greene.

EduShyster: You started your blog, Curmudgucation, about a year and a half ago, and by my count you’ve written close to 782,000 posts since you went live. So I put to you the question that no one else has had the nerve to ask: Is Peter Greene a person or is he actually an algorithm? 

Peter Greene: If you ask my 11th grade English students they’ll tell you that I’m the monster in the closet… I’ve been doing opinion writing since I was in college, and I’ve had a newspaper column for the past 15 years. The guy who originally hired me gave me a few parameters. Anything I write has to have a local angle and I can’t libel anyone. As long as I stay within those lines I’m OK. But my editor would only tolerate so much writing about education. And as things started heating up in the world, the more things I felt like I needed to say. Continue reading →

Data Drives the Bus (Over a Cliff)

And some parents say *enough* to a district’s assessment craze…

bus 3It’s field trip time and today we’re headed to the scenic seaside community of Salem, Massachusetts. When last we stopped by to *discover the magic of Salem,* we also discovered a school system gone wild for *bigger rigor,* especially for young Salem-ites who hail from the city’s less, well, luxurious lanes. But one child’s opportunity gap is an opportunity for a savvy eduprenueur, and edupreneurial opportunities abound here these days. Buckle up reader, because it’s time to board the data bus. Continue reading →