There Goes the Neighborhood School

Who gets to live in a neighborhood when neighborhood schools disappear?

Progressive picWhen the city of Chicago shuttered some fifty neighborhood schools last year, officials invoked antiseptic-sounding words like “underperformance” and “underutilization.” But visit neighborhoods that bore the brunt of the closings, as I did recently, and you’ll hear that the battle over the city’s schools is about something much larger: the future of the city itself and who gets to live here. Parents, teachers and community leaders told me that the replacement of neighborhood schools serving the city’s poorest children with privately run charters that don’t, can’t be separated from the relentless gentrification that’s rapidly transforming Chicago into a wealthier, whiter city. Think urban renewal but without the bulldozers.

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Who Does Peter Greene Think He Is?

In which I interrogate the one-man writing machine known as Curmudgucation…

p haircut

A young Peter Greene.

EduShyster: You started your blog, Curmudgucation, about a year and a half ago, and by my count you’ve written close to 782,000 posts since you went live. So I put to you the question that no one else has had the nerve to ask: Is Peter Greene a person or is he actually an algorithm? 

Peter Greene: If you ask my 11th grade English students they’ll tell you that I’m the monster in the closet… I’ve been doing opinion writing since I was in college, and I’ve had a newspaper column for the past 15 years. The guy who originally hired me gave me a few parameters. Anything I write has to have a local angle and I can’t libel anyone. As long as I stay within those lines I’m OK. But my editor would only tolerate so much writing about education. And as things started heating up in the world, the more things I felt like I needed to say. Continue reading →

Have We Hit Peak TFA?

While fundraising continues to gush, the supply of recruits is rapidly dwindling…

TFABy *The 49er* 
A couple weeks ago, I was having dinner with a current Teach for America corps member who described a bizarre moment to me.  She’d recently attended a regional gathering and the executive director wouldn’t let corps members leave the room until they submitted the contact information for two potential recruits for the next year. My friend declined, writing instead: *I came here to be a teacher, not a TFA recruiter.* Continue reading →

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 →