Holding Back to Get Ahead

Researcher Joanne Golann says that no-excuses charters are teaching low-income students to defer to authority and hold back their opinions—the opposite of what they’ll need to succeed in college and life.

walking in lineEduShyster: You’re one of the first researchers to spend an extended period of time inside a no-excuses charter school. Here’s where I ask you to sum up close to two years of research into a single sentence. OK—you can have a paragraph.

Joanne Golann: I found that in trying to prepare students for college, the school failed to teach students the skills and behaviors to help them succeed in college. In a tightly regulated environment, students learned to monitor themselves, hold back their opinions, and defer to authority. These are very different skills than the ones middle-class kids learn—to take initiative, be assertive, and negotiate with authority. Colleges expect students to take charge of their learning and to advocate for themselves. One of the students I talk about in the article learned to restrain herself to get through, to hold herself back and not speak her mind. She ended up winning the most-improved student award in 8th grade for her changed behavior. Continue reading →

Kindergarten Suspensions: It’s a *Thing*

We meet a five-year-old who, in his first four months as a kindergartner, was suspended 16 times. In other, words, what????

It’s time for another installment of Have You Heard, listener. In this episode (our third!), we head to Boston for a look at the controversial trend of kindergarten suspension. We go behind the data to bring you the story of a mother and a five-year-old boy who, in his first four months as a kindergartner, was suspended 16 times. Hard to imagine? His mother thinks so too as she struggles to understand how her bright, creative little boy could end up in so much trouble so quickly. After you’ve listened, drop me a line by email or on Twitter to let me know what you thought. I’ll be talking about the issue of kindergarten suspension and other controversial edu-topics in a live webcast on May 11. Sign up here.

Mitt Romney’s No Excuses School

Cranbrook, the private boarding school attended by Mitt Romney, is a ‘No Excuses’ school, which is why Mr. Romney has such remarkable posture.

Haters are constantly dawging on Mitt Romney for being quite possibly the whitest person who has ever lived. But it might surprise you to know that despite his mom jeans and the robotic arm movements, Willard Mitt Romney actually has a lot of flava. You see, Mr. Romney attended a No Excuses school very similar to the ones that are popping up in African American communities across the country. That is why Mr. Romney has such excellent posture and has not received a single demerit during the course of this entire long campaign.

Meet the test preppies
Young Willard attended Cranbrook Academy, a private boarding school that specializes in college prep. Cranbrook is very similar to KIPP and other No Excuses schools, except that Cranbrookians don’t take standardized state tests so have time left over to study things other than how to take a test. Also there is a strong emphasis on the arts at Cranbrook which seems unnecessary and also a little weird as there are not even any questions about the arts on standardized state tests. Continue reading →