The Scratch n’ Sniff Guide to Phony Education Reform Groups

Just in time for the start of the school year, this handy EduShyster scratch n’ sniff guide can help you smell a phony ed rephorm group from a mile away…

The start of the school year will no doubt see the appearance of an alphabet soup’s worth of education reform groups popping up in a community or on a campus near you. But how to tell if said groups are  something rather less than meets the eye–let’s call them rephorm groups, shall we? This handy EduShyster scratch n’ sniff guide can help you smell a phony from a mile away. Continue reading →

First Annual Bad Education Journalism Contest

Don’t delay—submit your entries today!

EduShyster is pleased to announce the first ever Bad Education Journalism Contest. At last an opportunity to recognize the best of the worst: stories larded with edu-cliches, based on faulty premises, reliant on questionable “experts,” shot through with silver bullets, full of barely disguised product placements, sprinkled with conflicts of interest and a hint of hypocrisy–and that’s just the front section!

Contest rules and deadline
Simply send a link to the story and the reason you think it is worthy of nomination to tips@edushyster.com or tweet @EduShyster by September 15. Winner will receive two complimentary tickets to “Won’t Back Down,” the true story of a group of California parents who fought to turn their local school over to a private charter operator with the aid of a California billionaire. Continue reading →

A New Kind of Public School©

The Leona Group LLC runs a new kind of public school©, which should be obvious by the fact that the company copyrighted the tagline, a new kind of public school©

A school district hands over the keys to a charter operator with some eye-popping numbers

One of the great things about corporate education reform strategies is how well they work. I mean just glancing out of the window of the EduShyster estate I can see that the achievement gap has already narrowed to a small crevasse. Which is why we need to double down and do even more of the things that are already proving so effective: improving schools by closing them down, investing in kid futures (preferably at a rate of 7% or more) and making sure that our schools are producing the kinds of glossy promotional brochures that kids and parents deserve.

But enough with the tinkering around the edges. We need bold, high octane reforms the damage from which may never be undone.That’s why EduShyster was so pleased with the news that a Michigan city has decided to hand over its entire school district to a for-profit charter operator. With the state’s economy still floundering after 10 straight years of job losses, at least somebody here has finally figured out how to make some money off of Michigan’s last great natural resource, it’s children.  Continue reading →

Pregnancy Test Scandal Shows Charters Are ‘A Little Bit Public’

Girls at a Louisiana charter school got pregnant after their boyfriends released the parent trigger.

When EduShyster heard that a Louisana charter school is requiring girls suspected of being pregnant to take a pregnancy test–and kicking out anyone who tests positive–my first thought was: now that’s a high stakes test. Followed by: what a great idea! After all it is a well known fact that pregnant teens do not score well on standardized tests due to hormone induced wooziness. Also, their posture tends to suffer, especially in the third trimester, and there can be “no excuses” for that. Continue reading →

Missing: Lots and Lots of Charter School Students

UP Academy, which is expanding into Lawrence and recently applied to open another charter school in Boston, lost more than 25% of its students last year.

Since UP Academy took over a public middle school last year, more than 25% of its students have left. Yet state officials continue to tout UP as a success story.

The hot new buzz word in local edu-crat circles these days is “portfolio.” Here–say it with me: port·fo·li·o. Excellent! Now you are probably wondering, what does  “a case for carrying loose papers,” (from Latin, the imperative of portare “to carry” and folium, meaning “a sheet for writing upon”) have to do with closing the achievement gap–unless perhaps those papers are to be stuffed into said gap???

Alas, “portfolio” in this case refers to the many education options that await students who live in a high-poverty, low-performing school district. Or at least that’s what the term WOULD mean if we weren’t in the strange, upside down world of education reform. Instead, “portfolio” really refers to a nonsensical #edreform strategy in which 1) a few schools enjoy the luxury choosing their students while 2) the remaining, truly public schools continue to deal with the reality of poverty that made them low-performing in the first place. Continue reading →