The Next “Waiting for Superman”

The next “Waiting for Superman” is on its way to a theater near you–and it’s even phonier than the last.

Start with an issue near and dear to corporate reformers’ hearts, pump it up with plenty of right-wing cash, then add in a tear-jerking script guaranteed to stir mass outrage at the “entrenched bureaucracy” in our public schools. Sound familiar? After all, what would back-to-school-season be without a feel-bad film that has us up on our feet, mad as hell, demanding a corporate takeover of our public schools?

This fall’s “Waiting for Superman” is called “Won’t Back Down,” a full-on feature length film with an all star cast (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holly Hunter and Viola Davis) about the corporate edu-crowd’s current fave reform “tool.” Any guesses as to what that would be? Bingo! It’s the “parent trigger,” a California law created by the billionaire-funded group Parent Revolution  that enables parents to hand over operation of a public school to an outside charter school operator. In the film, an outraged mother, played by Gyllenhaal, helps parents take over a struggling school where teachers have failed to teach her daughter to read, punched her and locked her in a closet. Hey wait just a second, that sounds like young EduShyster’s public school experience… Continue reading

Epic Charter Fail

Gloucester, MA is home to Massachusetts’ most dysfunctional charter school. So why won’t state officials pull the plug? Because putting the school out of its misery would call new attention to its murky origins.

If you’ve managed to miss out on the long and sorry saga of the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School, consider yourself lucky. Alas, your good fortune is at an end. You’ll need a large Dark and Stormy to get through this one–and don’t skimp on the rum. Continue reading

Meet the EduShyster of the Month

William Guenther, CEO of the “nonprofit” school turnaround experts Mass Insight, earns $237 per hour for dispensing advice that has produced excellent results–for his bank account.

What do you call an organization that rakes in millions of tax payer dollars to turn around schools but never seems to produce any actual results? Elementary Watson! I believe that you call that organization an EduShyster. Meet this month’s nominee: Mass Insight–or Ma$$ In$ight–as they might more accurately be called.

Mass Insight Education, the sister organization of Mass Insight Global Partnerships–which does not sound ominous at all–has been cleaning up in the education reform “space” since 1997. Just how much money has the group raked in? According to the last Form 990 filed by the group in 2009, CEO William Guenther reported earning a cool $370,000–for 30 hours per week work. That works out to roughly $237 per hour. And that was three years ago…

Damn! Mass. Insight must be some serious school turn-er-arounders, wouldn’t you say? And more importantly, how can we get in on some of this turnaround action?  Continue reading

To The Battle of Wits, DFER Comes Unarmed

The fraternity brothers of Democrats for Education Reform decide to take on Diane Ravitch–with predictable results.

It all started when the brothers of Delta Epsilon Rho, otherwise known as Democrats for Education Reform, got wind that Diane Ravitch did NOT take them seriously. After the DFER boys learned that Ravitch had questioned why groups like DFER, the Michelle-Rhee fronted Students First, and countless other corporated-funded #edreform groups never seem to advocate for smaller class sizes, the reversal of budget cuts, etc., it was GAME ON. Continue reading

Fuzzy Charter Math Always Adds Up***

***After a few drinks…

Dear EduShyster:

I run an emerging chain of charter schools with many innovative best practices™, highly effective teachers™ and students with excellent posture™ who excel at test taking™. Also, we believe that every student is a scholar with outstanding growth potential.™ All of our many innovations and best practices are reflected on our website and in glossy promotional materials, what we call our Prospectus for Excellentus,™ There is just one problem. Our student data is a little, well, meh, and many of our former scholars turned out to have less than excellent posture™ so were forced to leave us before they could recognize their outstanding growth potential™.  Could this jeopardize our ability to open new schools wherever we want and land lucrative state contracts?

Charterus Maximus
ps: Please don’t tell my boss that I sent this as it could very well get me fired
pps: I am the boss Continue reading