Holy State Takeover!

Nine state takeover takeaways (because I ran out of time before I could come up with #10)

HolyokeWell that certainly didn’t take long. The official state takeover time piece barely registered two hours and the Holyoke Public Schools had officially entered a new state: taken over. If you are keeping count at home, that’s about half as long as the public hearing that preceded the vote, during which some 1,000 + Holyokesters, including some who stood for four hours, packed a hall to register their objections to the state’s takeover plans. In other words, nothing to see or hear here folks, especially, it seems, if you were one of the ten members of the state’s 12 member Board of Education who didn’t actually visit a single Holyoke school prior to casting your vote…

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P is for PARCC, Pearson and Pushback (and Peeps)

Before the first day of PARCC testing, the results are in. Push back against indefensible state policies and the state will crack.

peepsThe special time you’ve been waiting for has at last arrived, boys and girls. It’s PARCC testing week! Think Easter but with a few key differences. Like instead of hunting for eggs, you’re after *college and career readiness.* Also, those Peeps in your basket aren’t for realz but are being *piloted* to help determine what should go in your basket next year. Which is to say that it’s never a good idea to put all of the kids’ eggs in one basket, even if the state’s chief educational standards bunny happens to serve as the chair of an egg distributor.  Continue reading →

Rich Student, Poor Student

Students in Salem, MA learn a hard lesson about class

backtoschoolDear [insert name here]:
Welcome back to school, Salem, MA student! If you’ll be attending this school, this school or this school, let me take this opportunity to congratulate you. Like the mariners of yore, your parents successfully navigated the treacherous shoals of Salem’s school *choice* system. And that’s great news for you because it means that you’ll be having your *whole child* educated this year, including the part of you that loves art, music and super cool project-based learning. As for those of you who’ll be going to this school, this school, this school or this school, well, your education is going to look just a little bit different. Shall we pop in and see? Continue reading →

Back 2 Basics

Everything that’s wrong with urban education reform in a single, bitter-tasting tale

B2BReader: I feel that I must address the elephant in the room. I’m talking, of course, about history—the sore subject that is absolutely not being eliminated from the Boston Public Schools. And irregardless of what you may have heard, there is no truth at all to the rumor that students in the city’s schools will now receive their daily dose of history and social studies only at lunchtime, served up from the schools’ fallow salad bars by historical impersonators. I’m happy to report that a growing number of students in Boston can look forward to a rich and nutritious curriculum, if by rich and nutritious you mean *two squares* of math and English.  Continue reading →

Spring Cleaning

A social justice movement is bringing sweeping change to teachers unions

spring cleaning

When we last paid a call upon those nemeses of all things excellent, the teachers unions, we found them in a sad and sorry state. Exuding an odeur of mildew and mothballs, even their ability to stifle innovation and lower expectations seemed in doubt. But it turns out that whilst we were reading (every day and everywhere) about the unions’ demise, something rather unexpected, not to mention frankly exciting, has been happening within their ranks. In short: a social justice movement is bringing sweeping change to teacher unions. Will yours be next?  Continue reading →