EduShyster Turns One Year Old

Well that was fast. Just a year ago I was fending off complaints on the home front that lest I rein in my constant tirades regarding the Boston Globe and its appalling coverage on all matters educational delicious meals might cease to come my way. And then it came to me: I could start a blog in hopes of finding others who were similarly appalled and thus found themselves using the word “appalled” an appalling number of times. And so it was that EduShyster was born. One hundred fifty posts and untold wine boxes later, Edushyster turns one year old on this very day. To honor this historic occasion I answer your questions—well, most of them.

Do you really consume wine by the box?
The “flagon” would be a more accurate measure and yet somehow it doesn’t convey quite the same degree of righteous thirst as the trusty box. (Let’s be frank: even writing about the civil right$ i$$ue of our time is thirsty work). The first reference to a wine box appears in a rather unimaginatively named post: “4 Out of 5 Edu-Polls are Utter Crap.” I also introduced several different versions of the EduShyster drinking game, including my very favorite: the TFA wedding announcement game. Start with a pitcher of mimosas, add excellence, high expectations and an exceptional pedigree. Repeat as necessary.

Will the education reform movement survive the coming Zombie apocalypse?
Reader: I’ve got good news and bad news. Let’s start with the former. The mindless, reanimated corpses that will soon overflow our streets care little about the achievement gap and even less for excellence. And with human brains at a premium, Teach for America and its corps of outstandingness are likely to be particularly hard hit. Yet I fear that not all is cause for celebration. One creature will survive the apocalypse unscathed: the edupreneur. You see, like the roach who survives the nuclear winter, edupreneurs areinventors and solution-finders” who are relentlessly “entrepreneurial.” Besides, the edupreneur luvs disruption and what could be more disruptive than the zombie apocalypse?

If you were an education reform group, which one would you be?
Choices, choices—such a buffet of choices, a veritable smorgasbord of organizations putting children first and also on a path to excellence, achievement and 21st century skills and prosperity. How can I possibly choose just one? EduShyster owes her start to one particular group that Stands for Children and its entirely grassroots, people-powered movement against the scourge of LIFO-liferism that is causing our schools to sink deep into achievement gap. Then there are our hedge-funded friends at Democrats for Education Reform—for those days when one is feeling both plutocratic and plutocratic. But how to top the Center for Education Reform which celebrated its 18th anniversary with an event called the Edreformies Rockin’ Reform Review? Any organization that features a musical act called the Reformers singing “Smoking in the Boys Room” to John Boehner, a “true rebel of reform,” is good enough for me…

Quel est le plus important pour la réforme de l’éducation: transformation ou l’excellence? Pourquoi? Déballez cela. Prenez une plongée profonde.
That is an excellent question, and certainly one that merits “unpacking” and also a “deeper dive.” For those of you who are not familiar with Google translator and its unique ability to translate the fiercely urgent questions of our time into multiple languages, may I take this opportunity to issue an official EduShyster endorsement? My extensive use of Google translator enabled me to produce my all time favorite post: ¡Psst: Los Escuelos Charteros Have a Secret! I have also learned the word for “excellence” in languages including Finnish, Turkish, Swahili, Hän, Klingon and Esperanto.

Were you bitten by a charter school as a child?
Alas, I regret to report that EduShyster is the product of a completely union-stifled education, from her low expectations childhood all the way to a PhD from a mediocre university. And since charter schools had not yet been invented back in my own non excellent school days (you see, I am that old), the answer to your question is no: I was not bitten by a charter school or even chased down the street by one whilst riding my banana-seated Schwinn. My near obsession with the subject of academies of excellence and innovation has its roots in a far simpler source: data. I have a little game I like to play (and yes, it is also a drinking game). Whenever I encounter a story involving a miracle school—say, this one, this one, this one, or this one—I spend between 4 1/2 and 5 minutes performing a trusty trick known as data analysis. You can do it too, reader. In fact anyone can—unless, of course, they are an employee of the Boston Globe

This blog of yours—any chance we can, uh, monetize this thing?

Send comments, tips and questions to tips@edushyster.com.


15 thoughts on “EduShyster Turns One Year Old

  1. Sure am glad you’ve been around for a year, EduShyster! As we Greeks say, Chronia Polla–many years!

  2. Thank you and congratulations on your birthday! Please keep your wineboxes well stacked and keep at it. From Michigan where, as I write, we are “dissolving” districts to crush the achievement gap.

  3. Happy freaking birthday. What the hell took you so long? What’s a year anyway when Learning is the Constant and Time is the Variable? Thanks for all the fish.

  4. interestingly, you and George W. Bush share a birthday…he has an online card with several pairs of feet (these boots are meant for walkin’?) and striped socks that could belong to the Wicked Witch. in the venn diagram of life, whereas you call your bike, he apparently continues to invest major time on his to this day. I don’t know if you paint nude bathroom pictures after all those drinking games. Love your info and your spirit. thanks and happy birthday, eduinformer.

  5. Happy 1st birthday Edushyster ! May your wine box stack be ever replenished and your outrage never dwindle until we win! Such a mad funny blog. Such dead serious content!

  6. Kudos and many thanks for so many clever and insightful posts on the appalling state of education “reform”!!

  7. Congrats! I love the blog, but I also love Edushyster and the other public school advocates on Twitter. I can’t be the only Twitter lurker who has noticed that the reform orgs blast out slogans while the public school advocates read like real people, rather than campaign hacks. For such original thinkers and transformational geniuses they all have the same 250 word vocabulary. I suspect focus group-tested language, myself. After all, who can argue with “accountability” or “excellence” or “choice”? Polls well, I’m betting.

  8. If there is any evidence to suggest that rephormers will one day be a derided by the historians, it is the Edreformies Rockin’ Reform Review. I just peed my pants.

  9. Edushyster you are like water in the desert. Thank you for this wonderful and important blog.

  10. Happy Birthday! Sorry I didn’t know in advance or I’d've gotten you something. But in any case, I’ll be lifting my wine box to you today!

  11. Pingback: Happy Birthday, EduShyster! One Year in Pursuit of Excellence | Diane Ravitch's blog

  12. Too Funny and Too True. The billionaires have their secret associations. Why can’t we have our public associations also to counter their proclamations of fantasy? This is fair. There is a lot of time in the system by those who comment on these blogs. They have a “Learned” position to speak from as the billionaires do not. When people have been professionals at the top of their profession for 30-50 years there is something to be said of the “Historical Perspective” they have. My Dad was one of those. He died at 94.5 and is still considered at Boeing Helicopters an icon of engineering. Is it any different with these lifelong educators not just billionaires whose only reason for living is “More Money!!!!!”

    Thank You Eduschyster. I love your name by the way. You are certainly not politically correct.

  13. Pingback: Happy Birthday, EduShyster! One Year in Pursuit of Excellence | having knelt at well-curbs