Dropout Nation?

What exactly are college prep academies preparing students for?

A young test-taker at Boston’s City on a Hill Charter School, which is seeking to open two more college prep academies.

And now it’s time for today’s high-stakes test question: which of the following is better at preparing students to attend and complete college? A. Our union-stifled (and indisputably failing) public schools or B. The college prep academies that are popping up like payday loan services in cities everywhere. The correct answer, as you are no doubt aware, should be B—except that we don’t have so much as a SHRED of evidence to back up this proposition. What data we do have paint the sort of picture that you probably won’t find hanging in the offices of the state charter lobby. What gives? It turns out that the martial-arts style test drilling that increasingly reigns supreme at urban charters may not be the ideal way to prepare kids for college. Continue reading →

Single White Female

Many studies show that young white teachers are fresher and more innovative than their LIFO lifer peers of other races.

The achievement gap is the civil rights issue of our time—which is why it may be necessary for us to destroy a large part of the Black middle class in order to achieve our goal of closing said gap.

During the Chicago Teachers Union strike I encountered a stunning statistic. Since education reform arrived in Chicago, African Americans have dropped from 45% of the teaching force to just 19%. But how can that be? you must be wondering. Arne Duncan LUVS Black people. Alas reader, while the schools slated for closure, turnaround or charterization have had a significant percentage of African American teachers, the ones replacing them rarely do. But at least Chicago has made great strides in closing the achievement gap…

Chicago is not the only place where Education Reform, Inc. is quickly reshaping the teaching force into one that is fresher and more innovative younger and whiter. In urban areas across the country, middle-aged, middle class African American teachers are being pushed out to make room for the flavor of the day: vanilla. Continue reading →

Welcome to Good Posture Academy

So you want to go into teaching, but you know that a public school isn’t the place for you as you have heard about these innovation-free zones where iron-clad union contracts prohibit teachers from staying after school. This fact, by the way, is documented by the forthcoming documentary film, “Won’t Back Down.” Well, there is good news. No longer do you have to settle for a LIFO life of low standards. Now, thanks to the MATCH Teacher Residency Program you can become a MATCH teacher and say goodbye to mediocrity forever. Continue reading →

No Excuses for “No Excuses” Bull@#$%

The military style, “no excuses” schools that education reformers are pushing on poor and minority kids are directly at odds with the civil rights language they use.

Perhaps the most outrageous contradiction in corporate education reform rhetoric is the vast gap between the civil rights language used by reformers and the programs they’re actually pushing: low-rent charters for minority kids, complete with a “no excuses,” pull-up-your-pants curriculum that would never fly in a white suburban school.

A reminder of the full extent of the reformers’ hypocrisy arrived in the EduShyster tip box just this week. A recent participant in a program called the Rhode Island Teaching Fellows, part of the Michelle Rhee-founded New Teacher Project (TNTP), wrote to describe her experience in their 5 week teacher training session. Moved by the catch phrase “Let’s close the achievement gap,” the writer’s initial excitement about teaching in one of Rhode Island’s high needs urban schools soon turned to shock at the content of what she and her fellow fellows were actually being taught. I encouraged her to send her story to Diane Ravitch and you can read it here. Continue reading →

Fuzzy Charter Math Always Adds Up***

***After a few drinks…

Dear EduShyster:

I run an emerging chain of charter schools with many innovative best practices™, highly effective teachers™ and students with excellent posture™ who excel at test taking™. Also, we believe that every student is a scholar with outstanding growth potential.™ All of our many innovations and best practices are reflected on our website and in glossy promotional materials, what we call our Prospectus for Excellentus,™ There is just one problem. Our student data is a little, well, meh, and many of our former scholars turned out to have less than excellent posture™ so were forced to leave us before they could recognize their outstanding growth potential™.  Could this jeopardize our ability to open new schools wherever we want and land lucrative state contracts?

Charterus Maximus
ps: Please don’t tell my boss that I sent this as it could very well get me fired
pps: I am the boss Continue reading →