Building Tomorrow’s Walmart Workers—Today

Our nation’s fate hangs in the balance—and once again the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of our union-stifled public schools. Reader: I give you the skillz gap. Perhaps the most fiercely urgent chasm we’ve encountered to date, the skillz gap refers to the vast unfilled space between current and future job openings and the skillz of the people looking for jobs.

Or that’s what we’re supposed to think it means. The real skillz gap is between what workers have—a fierce desire not to live in their cars—and what their employers wantto pay them as little as possible. Which brings us to today’s fiercely urgent question: if the skillz gap demands that we dismantle our public schools pronto, what kind of schools are best suited to producing the cheap, compliant workers that tomorrow’s employers so urgently need today? The answer: excellent schools. Continue reading

The Silent Treatment: A Day in the Life of a Student in ‘No Excuses’ Land

Little Carolina is college bound, but to realize her dreams she must spend the next seven years at a college prep charter—in near complete silence.

Meet Carolina. This college-bound fifth grader is fortunate enough to attend a charter school where expectations are high and innovation and excellence abound. There’s just one wee catch. In order to realize her goal of opportunity and the promise of independence, Carolina must spend the next SEVEN YEARS in near silence. Sweet Carolina is not a novice in a convent or an inmate in a children’s prison but a resident of a horrifying place called “no excuses” land that, while often lauded by education rephormers, is rarely seen from within.

You see, Carolina is a would-be student at a proposed new school, Argosy Collegiate Charter School, in Fall River, Massachusetts. As part of its application to the state Board of Education, Argosy included a detailed hour-by-hour look at what Carolina’s typical school day is like (note: Day in the Life begins on page 144 of the application). The following is an excerpt from Carolina’s day. Continue reading