The Democracy Gap

The 49er says that there’s a democracy gap in the education reform movement.

By *The 49er*
democracy gap 2Recently I was told by the organizer of a project I’m involved in to incubate independent charter schools that we are *creating choices for parents who don’t even know they want the option yet.* Huh? Doesn’t that seem backwards? Shouldn’t parents be clamoring for new schools rather than having people from outside their communities provide them with *choices?* Continue reading →

Won’t Give Up

The Philly Student Union has a message for the adult interests charged with running the city’s public schools…

won't back downWhen the Philadelphia School District decided to hold a *parent engagement* night featuring a showing of the charter happy, parent trigger flick Won’t Back Down,  members of the Philly Student Union showed up, sat down and Wouldn’t Get Up. I spoke with new member Ruby Anderson about the students’ vision for public education in Philadelphia and what she would say to reform advocates if given the chance.
Continue reading →

Open Doors, Open Hearts

The exponential rewards of being unafraid…

mrvrulerWhen I walked through the door of José Vilson’s New York City classroom recently, I was in search of something very particular: hope. You see, after a week in New York touring what so often turned out to be the wreckage of the city’s now decades-long experiment in education reform, not to mention catching a disturbing look at what is likely the future of education there, I was in serious need of a pick-me-up. So I boarded the A train and took it all the way up to Dyckman and Broadway, the penultimate stop. I showed up in José’s eighth grade classroom—excuse me, make that Mr. Vilson’s classroom—in time for a lesson on exponents. But what I took away, aside from a new understanding of a topic that eluded me in 8th grade, was something exponentially bigger.  Continue reading →

The White Fit

Recruiting more minority teachers is essential—after we drive out all of those who are already teaching…

FILM_FreedomWritersToday’s high-stakes question involves the demographics of our nation’s teaching force. When and where is it appropriate to discuss the urgent need to diversify the nation’s teaching force whilst failing to acknowledge what’s happening to the ranks of minority teachers who are already teaching? The answer: in whatever city Arne Duncan’s *bigger rigor* bus tour happens to have landed. You see, even as a much-needed conversation about the vital importance of having teachers of color in front of an increasingly diverse student body is taking place, a bouquet of reform policies is effectively pushing out existing teachers of color. Bundle up reader, because we’re headed to Boston where the nip of fall is in the air and minority teachers are being *reformed* right out of the city’s public schools. Continue reading →

When Edu Sharks Attack!

At the intersection of business and education policy lurk the *sharks*…

Shark-Tank-logo1Reader: have you ever found yourself binge watching Shark Tank and thinking that if anyone has the cure for our failed and failing public school it’s the sharks? Why, just the smoldering gaze of billionaire Mark Cuban is enough to spike achievement rates. And what if the *Queen of QVC,* Lori Greiner, could come up with a way for choosy choosers to order high-performing seats right through their TVs? Well, it turns out that great minds think outside the same box. I give you Ed Shark Tank—an idea so great that you didn’t even know you were waiting for it. Continue reading →