Why are urban teachers being trained to be robots?
By Amy Berard
*Give him a warning,* said the voice through the earpiece I was wearing. I did as instructed, speaking in the emotionless monotone I’d been coached to use. But the student, a sixth grader with some impulsivity issues and whose trust I’d spent months working to gain, was excited and spoke out of turn again. *Tell him he has a detention,* my earpiece commanded. At which point the boy stood up and pointed to the back of the room, where the three classroom *coaches* huddled around a walkie talkie. *Miss: don’t listen to them! You be you. Talk to me! I’m a person! Be a person, Miss. Be you!* Continue reading →
I talk to Nevada Succeeds’ Seth Rau about the Silver State’s new Education Savings Account experiment…
EduShyster: Thanks to Nevada’s bold new *universal choice* program, I’ve got exactly $5700 in my backpack. Now I need you to help me choose what choice to choose. Should I go traditional, private, high-performing charter school seat, virtual? What do you think?
Seth Rau: In Nevada, the miracle of the high-performing seats that you’re so familiar with in Massachusetts never happened. For the most part our district charter schools are strongly underperforming. There’s also been a heavy reliance on virtual charter schools. More than a quarter of the students who attend charters attend virtual schools, which have been a disaster for many kids. For example, Nevada Virtual Academy was the largest charter school in the state and had a 32.5% graduation rate in 2011-2012. Continue reading →
My source says no…
Reader: I j’adore investigative journalism. Which is why I was beyond excited to learn that Campbell Brown’s new edu-venture, The 74, will include an investigative component. After all, at a moment characterized by the movement of massive sums from public to private hands, perhaps no *space* cries out for investigating like education. But then a tip arrived in my inbox that made me sad. A reporter who interviewed for a job at The 74 reported that The 74 will not be investigating charter school scandals. Could such a thing really be true? It was time for me to investigate… Continue reading →
It looks like this, as a matter of fact. This is an actual report card from a fifth grade student in Massachusetts whom we will call Ginny, in place of the inevitable Johnny. A note on the notations: the slash marks indicate *not introduced at this time,* meaning that Ginny seems to have gone entirely history/social studies/and map free during the all important spring testing season. The *D* stands for developing, as Ginny likely spent much of her time developing short essays in response to the out-of-context passages she spent most of the rest of her time reading. That is when she wasn’t honing her math skills. Continue reading →
New Orleans parent advocate Ashana Bigard leaves the National Charter Conference with a responsibility bracelet—and some big questions…
By Ashana Bigard
I attended the National Charter Schools Conference from June 21 to June 24 in New Orleans. On Sunday, June 21, as I was checking in, I asked about free spaces for the parents in the community who have children in charter schools. To my surprise and dismay there was no slot open. The conference kicked off with a Mardi Gras style parade. It was a celebration of charter schools and their success in New Orleans, which is a national model for innovation in education—or so they say… Continue reading →