On the Rocketship

Richard Whitmire’s new book chronicles a bumpy ride for Rocketship charter schools…

9781118607640.pdfEduShyster: Your book is meant to chronicle the take-off of a high-performing charter school but to me it read more like a cautionary tale. You made the strongest case I’ve seen for why Silicon Valley-style disruption and education are a mismatch. I’m thinking of Rocketship’s decision to blow up its instructional model, making classrooms much larger, in order to generate more revenue for expansion.

Richard Whitmire: There were actually two reasons for that model change. California’s per-pupil spending is $7,500, one of the lowest in the country.The state was cutting back further at that time and delaying payment to charters. Rocketship also felt that it had hit kind of a wall. They’d been able to take these low-income minority kids to the mid 800’s [on the California Academic Performance Index (API)], but they weren’t getting up to the level of the suburban schools. This seemed to solve both of those problems at once. They could save some money and they could do some more personalized learning in this larger classroom.  Continue reading →

No Experience Necessary

Meet the new Superintendent of the Camden Public Schools: EduShyster

There is only one thing thing tempting enough to rouse me from the vaca coma in which I’ve spent the last 10 days: a handsomely compensated new job with a career trajectory heading up, up and up. Reader: I’ve got excellent news to share. No longer will I be toiling away in unpaid anonymity. Instead I’m taking my disruptive and innovative show on the road—to Camden, New Jersey. Meet the new Superintendent of the Camden Public Schools: Me! Now I’m sure you’ve got lots of questions about my new position and I’d love to pretend to answer them. Shall we get started? Continue reading →

Rephorm on the Rocks

How the rich cornered the market on great ideas to $ave our failing public schools

When we last checked in with our rich friends, they were flush with cash and aflurry with many excellent ideas for saving our failed and failing public schools. Now, with the stock market ascendant and corporate profits at an all time high, these generous benefactors are themselves rising to new heights of generosity and excellence. Today’s outstanding idea is brought to us (and to our failing schools) by the rich of New York City who have come up with an idea so bold, so transformative, so disruptive that we have no choice but to raise our glasses to them. Continue reading →