The Next Big Thing

The Springfield Empowerment Zone is light on results, heavy on hype and rife with red flags…

Barely had Massachusetts voters cast the last *nay* vote on raising the charter cap, aka the Last Big Thing, than the Next Big Thing was sweeping the Bay State. I speak, of course of the zones of empowerment, that suddenly have everyone who is anyone talking. The experiment in school turn around-ing underway in Springfield, headed up by education reformer magnate Chris Gabrieli, is now in its second year and has already put up impressive numbers. No reader, not the measurable results that were the occasion for the takeover. I mean *buzz* as they say in the biz. There’s Boston Globe sage Scot Lehigh singing the Empowerment Zone’s praises. Now here’s Chris Gabrieli singing his own praises. Here’s Governor Baker giving the EZ a shout out and proposing a statewide expansion. Here’s the Globe editorial page echoing the Governor’s call. Now here’s the front page of the Globe reporting on the growing momentum behind the Empowerment Zone crusade. Oh, and here’s Representative Alice Peisch, fresh off her turn as lead flog-stress for the Last Big Thing, filing the *enabling legislation* that will empower the growth of zones across the land. Continue reading →

Class Act

Why a civil rights law suit to lift the charter cap in Massachusetts could turn out to be the worst idea charter proponents have ever had…

white-bucks-2 (1)Quick reader: when is it perfectly appropriate to wear white after Labor Day? Why, when one is a legal eagle of the *white shoe* variety. This week, three of Boston’s whitest white shoe law firms, WilmerHale, Goodwin Procter LLP and FoleyHoag LLP, filed a class action law suit on behalf of the kids, vs the state’s charter cap—a  day that we secretly feared would never arrive due to the seemingly universally held opinion that the suit is a terrible idea. Continue reading →

These Charter Schools Are #1

Charter schools in Massachusetts are number one—at suspending students.

As regular readers can attest, EduShyster has been driven nearly INSANE (not to mention deep into the bottom of the occasional box of wine) by the vagaries of charter school math. That’s why it was such a relief to encounter some detective work by an enterprising local edu-blogger that found that charter school numbers really do add up—to quite a lot, it turns out.

First, a little context for your edu-fication. You see, charter schools are public schools, (unless their teachers want to join a union in which case they suddenly become private.) And because they are public the state collects reams of data about their students, their incredible shrinking classrooms and their 100% graduation rates. Tragically, reporters and state edu-crats are banned from viewing this information which means that the data often feel very lonely. And that, dear reader, is why it is so important that we have edu-bloggers.  Continue reading →