What if there was an easy peasy way to solve the skills gap, the STEM gap, the achievement gap, the expectations gap and the next, yet-to-be-named gap? Great news, reader! According to the New York Times a solution to our STEMtacular crisis lies within imminent reach. You see, reader, our failed and failing public schools rely on conventional methods to teach math and science, resulting in the many gaps listed above. But thanks to the unconventional methods utilized by the Knowledge is Power Program or KIPP, lower-income minority students are no longer being held back. Just what are these unconventional methods? Safety goggles on—we’re headed into the excellence lab… Continue reading
What’s behind those sky high charter salaries?
The eye-popping salaries commanded by some New York City charter execs are raising eyebrows, not to mention the hackles of haters. As a state-of-the-art technology known as Google quickly reveals, though, it’s not just in the Big Apple where charter chiefs are pulling down mad cheddar. But talking about money is so gauche, reader, which is why so many of these excellent execs insist on keeping compensation information to themselves. Continue reading
Salsa secreta comes to San Antonio, Texas
Amigos: I am crestfallen to report that a scourge of bad schools has befallen my fair burg of San Antonio, Texas. You’d think that without those pesky unions to hold them back Texas schools would be free to excel. Alas, we Tejanos seem to be missing some salsa secreta. Fortunately a team of local visionaries has been working round the clock to solve this problema. The solution? Replace San Antonio’s existing public schools with charters that are más excelente.
The jobs of tomorrow are here today—and they suck…
Reader: as a white person, I am required by law to listen to at least 12 hours of National Public Radio per week. (Note: 12 hour minimum does not include on-air fund drives). Which is how I happened to find myself tuned into a recent episode of On Point on the fast food economy and the wave of strikes by fast food workers. The show, hosted by the mellifluosly chiding (chilliflous?) Tom Ashbrook, featured 34-year old Terrence Wise, a fast food striker in Kansas City, MO with three children, two jobs and no home, who believes strongly that his profitable employers should “share the wealth.” Continue reading
What we should be talking about when we talk about Teach for America
Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve no doubt noticed that the debate about Teach for America has ratcheted up considerably in recent weeks. Here’s the quick and dirty version: urban districts are closing dozens of schools and laying off teachers, even as they’re bringing in new Teach for America recruits. When news began to spread that a popular Chicago teacher had been laid off (the news delivered by his mother, no less), the back-and-forth reached a boiling point. How was it right for the Chicago Public Schools to axe a well-regarded teacher, one of 2000 let go, while expanding the number of TFA corps members, who’ll be entering the city’s schools this fall after just five weeks of training?
It’s a heated and emotional discussion but it also misses the larger point. TFA’s threat to urban teachers isn’t in these new corps members but in the policy of rampant urban charter expansion that TFA is driving. What’s more, the rancorous tone of the debate threatens to push away the growing number of alumni who have begun to question TFA’s mission and orientation. So what should we be talking about? Here’s a look: