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 →

Tennessee Thunderdome

When schools are forced to compete for survival, everybody loses…

By Andy Spears
thunderdomeEducation reformers everywhere are looking to Tennessee for the newest way to blow up the system and disrupt the status quo. The new approach comes via Nashville, where both the local school system and the state’s Achievement School District are busy handing over *priority schools* to charter operators. The new twist is that two schools compete to determine which will be converted to a charter. Think the education reform equivalent of Thunderdome: two schools enter, only one leaves.  Continue reading →

Conversations in Crazytown

What’s the Republican state agenda for *reforming* our public schools? The 49er listens in…

By *The 49er*
crazy-townToday’s high-stakes trivia question: which state has a non-partisan, unicameral legislature? The answer: *Nebraska,* or one of the 69 of the nation’s 99 statehouses now controlled by Republicans. Another high-stakes question: What does this mean for the future of public education in this country? Will the Republicans out reform the Democrats for Education Reform? We’ll get an early glimpse this spring as legislators in many states meet to determine the future direction of education policy and funding.

My job requires me to meet with new legislators after each election cycle. Alas, I can’t tell you who I’ve been talking to without losing that job. But the conversations I’ve been having are too entertaining—and at times, alarming—not to share with the world. What follows is a sample conversation, based on actual exchanges, with a newly elected conservative legislator in my state. My translations appear in italics. Continue reading →

The ASD Shows Nashville Some Love

But which middle school will receive the final rose?

final roseIt’s hard to believe that two years have passed since we first encountered Tennessee’s Achievement School District, the New Orleans-style *recovery* district tasked with wrapping its arms around the bottom 5% of schools in the state and squeezing till they move to the top 25%. And like any new relationship based on somewhat, ahem, unrealistic expectations, this one has had its rough patches. Still, true love, much like the ASD itself, knows no bounds. In today’s edition, we’re headed to Nashville where the ASD will soon be handing out—wait for it, wait for it—the final rose, whether Nashville wants it or not. Continue reading →

Will the Gopher State Go Tenure Free?

Will Minnesota be the snow-covered setting for Vergara 2.0?

By Sarah Lahm, EduShyster Academy 
gopher stateNerves are on edge here in the Gopher State, as a question deep as the looming snow fall hangs in our reform-scented air: Will we, or won’t we? As in, will Minnesota, or won’t Minnesota be chosen as the next battleground in the fight to rout out *grossly ineffective* teachers, a la California’s Vergara decision? Intrigue, already piqued, piqued up further recently when Marcellus McRae, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the Vergara case and a member of the White Collar Defense club at the LA law offices of Gibson Dunn, made a special pilgrimage to the Twin Cities. Continue reading →