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 →

Who Got Capped?

What really went down in Massachusetts last week…

dunceIt seems like only yesteryear that an extraordinary amount of money and influence was lining up behind the long-suffering public school students of the Bay State. But last week state senators overwhelmingly declined to doff the *cap of excellence.* Wha happened??? And are there important lessons for us to ignore from what happened? (Like that making thin-skinned white guys the irritable face of a movement that’s supposed to be about low-income kids might not have been the smartest move…) Strap yourself in, reader, because it’s time for the official EduShyster cap the cap recap.   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 →

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 →