Terrible Twos

EduShyster turns two years old—and confronts some fiercely urgent questions…

toddler pics 4So what are some of the big lessons you learned this year?
That when you establish yourself as an obnoxious online presence, you go over surprisingly well when people meet you in real life. And that when you use a combination of facts and whimsy, and basically say the same things over and over again, every once in a while people actually pay attention. Also, that there appear to be quite a few people doing extraordinarily well by *doing good*… Continue reading

The Great Big Lovin’ Walheart

The Walton family hearts America’s poor kids. Their parents? Not so much.

walheartWhen we last paid a call on our good friends the Waltons, we found them in a fine, beneficent fettle indeed. Armed with Walmart profits equivalent to the wealth of the bottom 42% of American families combined, the Waltons felt moved to wrap their arms around the nation’s burgeoning population of low-income children and hug them into college readiness and 21st century success. And I’ve got great, heartwarming news, reader. As this New York Times feature reveals, the Waltons’ great big lovin’ Walheart beats stronger than ever—and there is nary an education reform group nor a charter school that is not ententacled in the family’s tender embrace. Continue reading

Greetings from Scamden, NJ

In Camden, NJ an effort to privatize the local schools finds little resistance among local elites

Camden, NJ teacher Keith Benson.

By Keith Benson
A recent *community meeting* at Camden’s Catto Elementary School exemplified the vast chasm that divides my city these days, between well-connected elites and the marginalized residents they profess to serve. The state-appointed superintendent of the Camden schools was expected to unveil the specifics of a plan concerning the district’s future. Skeptical local residents filled the bleachers, while Camden’s elites sat at tables applauding a *plan* that was as deliberately vague as it was short on specifics, including the names of the public schools that are slated to be taken over by charter operators. Refusing to name the schools prevents vigorous activism against closure. Instead, the crowd was urged to rally behind a pro-charter policy, *for the kids.* Continue reading

The White Choice

A growing number of choosy choosers are choosing the white choice for their children

It’s hard to believe but National School Choice Week is here again. This year’s choicetacular celebration started off with a bang—make that a bell—as students from Newark Prep Charter School, operated by K12 (NYSE: LRN), rang the New York Stock Exchange opening bell, signaling the dawning of a new era of investing in student futures. But hark! Could those be dark clouds threatening our bright yellow choice-filled future??? Continue reading

TFA: The International Brotherhood of Corporate Interests

How TFA rigs the teacher hiring process in favor of charter operators

Photo credit: Sarah Jane Rhee of www.loveandstrugglephotos.com

By Chad Sommer
When I joined Teach For America in the spring of 2011 I had no idea that my belief in social and economic justice was about to be cynically exploited by the corporate class. As a former development manager for a nonprofit that serves low-income Chicago public school students, TFA’s claims that its corps members and alumni are helping lead an educational revolution in low-income communities across the country spoke to me. Naively seduced by TFA’s do-gooder marketing pitch, I charged ahead on a mission to close the academic “achievement gapthat TFA blames on incompetent (read unionized) teachers. Continue reading