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

Cristal Ball

A look ahead at some of the trendiest trends of 2014…

Why it seems like only yesterday that we were All Hailing the EduPreneur, raising our wassail boxes to his (and her) unique ability to *do well* by *doing good.* So what does 2014 have in store for us? Will it be as disruptive, innovative and excellent as its predecessor, or will it be even more disruptive, innovative and excellent? What new jargon will climb to the very top of our *must spout* list? And how much leftover wassail will it take before we all forget that 2014 was supposed to be the year of universal proficiency? Here’s a peek… Continue reading

Cloudy with a Chance of Swedish Meatballs

The totally true, tragicomic and almost-certain-to be-ignored cautionary tale of Sweden’s 30 year experiment with privatizing education…

Pack your bags, reader, and prepare to stow your winebox in the overhead compartment. We’re headed on an adventure of the international variety. Our destination: Sweden—the nation that brought us free love, ready-to-assemble furniture and aquavit—is also home to a 30-year-experiment with skola privatisering, or as we call it, excellence enhancement through the magic of the market. How are things going in Sweden these days? Funny you should ask… Continue reading