Save Hirsh!

Was a popular Manhattan Beach, CA teacher fired for speaking out?

Save Hirsh 2It’s field trip time, reader, and you’ll need your upscale duds for this trek. We’re headed to Manhattan Beach, CA, known for spectacular coastal views, pricey real estate and some of the highest performing schools in the Golden State. But these days there’s something fishy in the air here—and it’s not just the sea lions. For weeks now, students and parents in Manhattan Beach have been up in arms over the firing of Tim Hirsh, a beloved French teacher at Mira Costa High. So why exactly did Hirsh get the axe? There’s only one way to find out, reader. Into the bathyspheres—we’ve got murky waters to plumb…   Continue reading →

Karen Lewis Talks Protests, Politics & Getting Back in the Mix

karen 3EduShyster: Chicago, like many cities, is seeing big protests over police brutality. I’m wondering if you see any connection between these protests and the discontent over school closures in the city’s poor neighborhoods that continues to simmer today. 

Karen Lewis: We don’t really like to talk about race and class, but they underpin both of these issues. I’m 61 years old, which means I went through the original Civil Rights Movement—it’s not just history to me. But I also know from history that the extra-judicial killing of Black men is nothing new in our society. The difference is that we have social media, we have recordings, and so you have a movement of people demanding accountability. What’s been really interesting to me is that you see the same concepts emerging whether we’re talking about policing or education: compliance, obedience and a loss of dignity. I’m going to tell you what to do and if you don’t do it, I’ll just take your life. The same with schools: if you don’t do what I tell you to do, I’ll just take your school. To me, this is a very interesting co-mingling of what justice really looks like and it’s very different for different people.  Continue reading →

Rabble Rouser

Lily Eskelsen Garcia is the new president of the NEA and she’s got something to say…

lily

EduShyster: You recently met with President Obama. I’ll ask this first question on behalf of all of my readers: did you set him straight?

Eskelsen Garcia: I can tell you that I had an amazing opportunity to have a very short conversation with the President. I got to ride in the Presidential limo on the way to a labor rally in Milwaukee and I was able to tell him a little about the back-to-school tour I’ve been on and what I’m hearing from teachers. I told him that the constant testing is the number one issue and that teachers tell me again and again: *I’m so excited for school to start and I love my job. Now if I could just get these idiot tests out of the way so that I can actually teach.* I had a chance to express what I think are very honest, passionate and heartfelt responses of educators all over the country. I could see that the President’s wheels were turning. Continue reading →

Everyone’s a Winner! The Kids vs. Bad Teachers Lawsuit Hits the Road

WinnersWell that certainly didn’t take long. Just two weeks after California’s kids celebrated their victory vs. bad teachers, the kids vs. tenure lawsuit is hittin’ the road. And that’s great news, reader. Because just as the California case produced lots of winners that weren’t exactly, ahem, pint-sized, round two of the civil rights cause of our time seems certain to be a win/win/win for everyone involved. From Campbell Brown who’ll be enjoying more screen time since, well any time in recent memory, to the Obama administration alums who won’t have to lobby for for-profit colleges after all, everyone’s a winner! Well, make that almost everyone… Continue reading →

Rebel with a Cause

Barbara Madeloni, newly elected president of the 110,000 member Massachusetts Teachers Association, says that fighting is winning.

cavanaugh_21umass7_metroEduShyster: I’ve heard you described as *bellicose,*  *unapologetically adversarial,* a *firebrand,* and *alarming.* Which of these would you say best describes you?

Barbara Madeloni: Aren’t you forgetting *shrill*? One of the narratives about my victory is that I accessed anger at the rank-and-file level. That’s true, but I also tried to hold up a more positive vision for re-engaging the world. We’re not helpless. We’re not hopeless. We can work together to change things. We can do something. That said, I think we are at a critical moment in history for public education in this country. If we don’t fight, we’re going to lose everything. We’re done. Continue reading →