Now Under New Management

Why don’t poor minority students get to have public schools?

banners-under-new-managementIt’s time for yet another edition of our long-running reality series, As the School Turns. In today’s episode, we’re heading to Roxbury, Massachusetts, home of the Dearborn STEM Academy, for a fresh take on a now familiar saga. Let’s call it As the School Turns: $70 Million Dollar Listing. That’s right, viewer, we’re in spin-off territory, as in the Dearborn is literally being spun off to a private contractor. It’s been a long season, full of surprising twists and turns, sudden rule changes, last minute hurdles and some extremely questionable assertions.  Now at last we’re down to the final two finalists. So which of our private operators will reign supreme after the votes are not cast? Let’s tune in and see.

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The White Fit

Recruiting more minority teachers is essential—after we drive out all of those who are already teaching…

FILM_FreedomWritersToday’s high-stakes question involves the demographics of our nation’s teaching force. When and where is it appropriate to discuss the urgent need to diversify the nation’s teaching force whilst failing to acknowledge what’s happening to the ranks of minority teachers who are already teaching? The answer: in whatever city Arne Duncan’s *bigger rigor* bus tour happens to have landed. You see, even as a much-needed conversation about the vital importance of having teachers of color in front of an increasingly diverse student body is taking place, a bouquet of reform policies is effectively pushing out existing teachers of color. Bundle up reader, because we’re headed to Boston where the nip of fall is in the air and minority teachers are being *reformed* right out of the city’s public schools. Continue reading →

Back 2 Basics

Everything that’s wrong with urban education reform in a single, bitter-tasting tale

B2BReader: I feel that I must address the elephant in the room. I’m talking, of course, about history—the sore subject that is absolutely not being eliminated from the Boston Public Schools. And irregardless of what you may have heard, there is no truth at all to the rumor that students in the city’s schools will now receive their daily dose of history and social studies only at lunchtime, served up from the schools’ fallow salad bars by historical impersonators. I’m happy to report that a growing number of students in Boston can look forward to a rich and nutritious curriculum, if by rich and nutritious you mean *two squares* of math and English.  Continue reading →

Evaluate This!

Happy Accountability Day, reader! But how best to celebrate when nearly every day seems to be Accountability Day these days? In Massachusetts we like to mark the passage of a consequential day with consequences by scouring newly released teacher ratings in order to finally, FINALLY, smoke out those bad teachers. So pull up a chair and uncork the wine box—it’s time for some deep data diving. Continue reading →

Letter to a Young No Excuses Student

This fall, Boston’s largest public elementary school, with an all-minority student body, will reopen as a no-excuses charter.

Dear [insert name here]:
Another school year is about to start and I’ve got some exciting changes to share with you. Your old school, John J. Marshall, with its low expectations and old teachers is no more. Instead, you will be attending UP Academy, an exciting new school with fresh new teachers, fresh new administrators and none of the excuses that were the rule at your old school. So what can you expect? Let’s take a look… Continue reading →