Imagine that you are possessed of the surname “Walton” and happen to be sitting on mad coin—say a cool $90 billion. How do you celebrate the occasion that is Teacher Appreciation Day? Do you chip in to give the nation’s teachers a raise, knowing they’ve been hard hit by the recession? Do you send them gift cards to Walmart, the store that hath so enrichethed you? If you are a teacher in Massachusetts, the Waltons have an extra special treat in store for you: a fully-funded gala at the Statehouse urging the replacement of the state’s many non-excellent teachers with fresh new innovators who will share their excellence one renewable year at a time. Happy Teacher Appreciation Day, xoxo Walmart! Continue reading
Elitism and the education reform movement
Like many of your fine states, Massachusetts is now home to a veritable alphabet-soup of education reform groups, albeit a can in which the letters FER seem to be somewhat overrepresented. Just yesterday, for example, a reader sent me a notice from a new chapter of a student reform group at Tufts University, headed up by a young equestrienne whose own secondary education came courtesy of a $33,000 private school. She is helping to mobilize the next generation of education reform leaders by reaching out to fellow students who “[h]ad a bad public school experience” and are interested in help[ing] out in charter school events around in the Boston area.” Continue reading
What do the hedge funders and venture capitalists who have taken it upon themselves to dismantle improve America’s public schools have in common with the owners of the National Football League? For one, both are fabulously wealthy (see, for example, Johnson, Jerry or Rauner, Bruce) And of course both groups DELIGHT in seeing minority kids succeed against all odds.
But might there be some other commonality that unites these men of means and vision? It turns out that both the titans of the NFL and the plutocrats behind Education Reform, Inc. share a common dislike for overpaid employees who insist on hanging around for an entire “career,” waiting to collect a pension.
Among the sticking points in the contentions negotiations between the NFL and its referees was the owners insistence that they have more “flexibility” to fire underperforming refs. When I saw this, I understood exactly what the problem was. It turns out that LIFO lifer referees have been ruining America’s favorite pastime just the way LIFO lifer teachers have been widening the achievement gap and destroying the future of an entire generation with their low expectations. Continue reading
One lesson made abundantly clear by the recent Chicago teachers’ strike was that our nation suffers from a dearth of African-American hedge fund managers and venture capitalists. What can we do about this shameful scourge? I have no idea, but what I do know is that the strike revealed a fascinating split along race and class lines over what white hedge fund managers like to call priming the edu-pump for future profits education reform.
The key take away: rich white people who send their kids to private schools were the only group to oppose the teachers’ strike. In other words, the very group whose children will likely grow up to become the next generation of achievement gap warriors.
Warning: I am about to use some polling data to back up my claims so those of you whose own educational prospects were damaged by having LIFO lifer teachers in public schools, or who lost valuable edu-days due to a strike will probably need to call on a tutor at this point. Continue reading
Much of the the reporting on the Chicago teachers strike has been of a surprisingly non-idiotic quality—especially by journalists who took the unusual step of going to Chicago and interviewing people who teach, send their children to public schools or attend such schools themselves.
But what to do if one is a prominent national columnist who is unable to leave one’s desk due to the extremely large number of followers to whom he must tweet throughout the day? Such was the fate of one Nicholas Kristof, who, apparently unable to make time even to Google “Chicago education reform, history of,” (try this experiment yourself at home, bold reader) managed to produce a column at once staggeringly misinformed, condescending and inane. Continue reading