The charter debate is over

  The charter school “debate” is no longer about charter schools vs. public schools (charters are not public schools—that myth has been exploded), or even about “for profit” vs. “not for profit” charters (the evidence here suggests this is really a difference without a distinction). No, the real issue here is about the true purpose …

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The Idiocy of AYP

  AYP, or “Adequate Yearly Progress”, is one of those seemingly benign terms that pops up in the educational lexicon every few years. AYP sounds…friendly. Unassuming. Who could argue with a reform initiative based on kids, teachers, or schools making “adequate yearly progress”? What are we, communists? Of course we want our schools to make progress…and …

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Charter Schools: The New Private Prisons?

    A new report from the Justice Department recommends the suspension of contracts for private prisons, effective immediately. In explaining the justification for this decision, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates concluded that “the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.” Teachers and those who have …

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Moving Forward…

  Photo Credit: http://lubbockonline.com/stories/020310/fea_558112953.shtml#.VzMlBmO8lVc   In the wake of the Michael Butera situation with NAFME, there has been a lot of discussion about matters of equity and inclusion. But this will be a missed opportunity if no action is taken. Here are a few ideas–please suggest yours in the comments below… We need to make …

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What Does Choice Have To Do With It?

A major plank of most education reform agendas is the issue of “school choice.” Reformers claim that school choice gives parents the power to move their children to “better schools,” and gives children a better chance of success. But what if unfettered, unregulated school choice didn’t improve academic achievement, and was really a scam designed …

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What we can learn about education from Finland

For all of the money spent by the corporate education reformers we’d expect to see massive improvements in student learning, school facilities, and education policy. Instead, charter schools have been a mostly unsuccessful “experiment” that has diverted billions of dollars from public schools struggling to maintain safe facilities and adequate programs for students. Standardized testing …

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Eva, Rick, and Mercury LLC: Damage Control Strategies for Abusive Teaching and Water Poisoning

    Today’s Lessons… 1. Abusive teaching behavior has been documented multiple times at Eva Moskowitz’s “Success Academy” charter school network. Ms. Moskowitz never denies these abuses happened—she simply attacks the newspaper or journalist who reported the abuses. 2. The PR firm handling Ms. Moskowitz’s damage control here is none other than Mercury LLP—the same …

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Reflection over prediction, or why we should write our lesson plans after the lesson

  There are three aspects of American life and culture about which I am unapologetically–and nearly equally–passionate: education, politics, and sports.   While I am sure that the 3 areas share many similarities, it’s the differences among these arenas that has attracted my enthusiasm. Education, specifically music education, has been my career path for over 30 years, …

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A Holiday Letter to Peter Cunningham and Education Post

  I had an interesting “discussion” on Twitter recently with Peter Cunningham, the Executive Director of Education Post–the investment banker, hedge fund manager-bankrolled communications mouthpiece of the corporate education reform industry. Nearly 2 years ago, Peter received $12 million in seed money to provide a “voice” for the poor billionaires who weren’t getting a fair shake from …

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You broke it, you own it…

Well, well, well. So now Kevin Huffman (aka the ex-Mr. Michelle Rhee), former Commissioner of Education in Tennessee, has finally decided that for-profit charter schools are a bad idea. Welcome to reality, Mr. Huffman. You may have reached this conclusion years ago if you had a degree in education (BA in English from Swarthmore; law …

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Who’s Narrating the “Teacher Shortage” Narrative?

  Photo credit: http://www.networkforpubliceducation.org/2015/08/newsletter-teacher-shortage-ny-times-got-it-wrong/ A recent column by Stephen Mucher, Director of the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at Bard College, has attracted a lot of attention from those concerned about the health and vitality of public education. And for good reason. Mr. Mucher mentions the recent history of campus protests across the country, which …

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The Plan is Coming Together…

  Careful readers have noticed a flurry of reformster activity over the past week or so, highlighted by two big announcements. First was the rollout of #TeachStrong, an education improvement scheme allegedly dedicated “to modernizing and elevating the teaching profession,” and involving a murderer’s row of reformer groups, like Teach for America, the Relay Graduate School of …

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I Dared to Teach

I received the following story from a teacher who wanted to share the ridiculous things that are going on with her/his evaluation process, but was worried about retribution from her/his administration. Sadly, these kinds of stories are becoming all too common as the pressures of the accountability era exert tremendous stress on all involved, as …

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“Skin in the game…”

Gov. Bobby Jindal, a participant in the Republican “undercard” debate last night, joined the list of conservative pundits in demanding that every person in the nation, regardless of their income or employment status, must be required to pay some taxes–“even $1!”–on the premise that everyone should have some “skin in the game.” The term “skin in …

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The “Brave New World” of Teacher Evaluation: Be Afraid…

  from: https://today.ucf.edu/deal-moves-teaching-simulator-developed-at-ucf-into-private-sector/ Just when you think the masters of the universe who run the corporate reform movement can’t be even more clueless, you catch wind of the newest effort to turn education into a profit-generating endeavor–this time, a hare-brained scheme to evaluate student teachers, by…and I swear I’m not making this up…observing them as they pretend to …

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Hey, Great Lakes Education Project: Got Integrity?

  The Great Lakes Education Project is a Michigan advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the charter school agenda in the state. GLEP’s official mission statement says the following: “Because a zip code shouldn’t determine the education outcomes for children, GLEP believes we must expand choice, improve quality and increase accountability.  We support Governor Snyder’s “any …

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Imagine…

  Imagine that your town established a private fire or police department, funded with your tax dollars, and staffed by young inexperienced college grads with no previous experience in fire fighting or law enforcement. Imagine that these parallel organizations were given prime locations in existing facilities (built and paid for with public monies), displacing the …

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Better Conversation? Not so much…

I had a fun little Twitter chat recently with Peter Cunningham, executive director of Education Post, the billionaire funded anti-public education website devoted to fighting back against the critics of the corporate reform of education movement. Because billionaires evidently need to be defended against public school teachers and parents who are concerned about hedge fund …

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