Rate My Teacher

In the latest episode of Have You Heard, Jack Schneider and I have a spirited back-and-forth with none other than Michelle Rhee. Jack asks her if she’s ready to admit that evaluating teachers on the basis of their student test scores has been a bad idea. I channel Gary Rubinstein and ask Rhee if the teaching profession has suffered as a result of the policies she and her advocacy group, Students First, pushed across the country. And we talk about what’s next for education reform in the time of Trump. So what does Rhee have to say to our questions? Well, you’ll have to listen to find out! Or you can skip ahead and read the transcript.

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Apples to Apples

I talk to Richard Whitmire, author of The Founders, about the NAACP moratorium, the *charter pushback movement* and how to measure Success… 

1471902369_3354.png (600×375)EduShyster: Let’s start at the end of your new book, The Founders: Inside the revolution to invent (and reinvent) America’s best charter schools. You wrap up with three challenges facing charter school expansion, one of which is what you call *the charter pushback movement.* It seems to be gaining steam, even since the book came out. How concerned are you about, say, the NAACP moratorium or the Black Lives Matter platform which makes many of the same demands?

Whitmire: I’m concerned about it because any time you start playing race cards it gets a little dicey. I think the unions are pushing any edge that they can get in this battle and they’re doing quite a good job of it. Frankly it doesn’t surprise me at all because if you’re looking at this from a political perspective, in other words, how to build a political base in *x* city, then the traditional school system—forced assignment, no charters—really works out better for you. I saw that in Washington DC when I was doing the Rhee book. Marion Barry had that Department of Education just overflowing with people. It was all part of his political machine. And it worked out really really well for him and it worked out really really well for the people who were employed there. The only people it didn’t work out well for were the kids. But from a political machine point of view, that’s the model you want. That’s the model that’s preferable. So it’s understandable why they’d push for that. But again, you have to look at those who are aspiring to be political leaders or already are and then those parents, and I come back again and again to those 4,000 parents on the waiting list for the Brooke Charter School in Boston. They’re all either Black or Hispanic. Who are you going to listen to: the NAACP or those parents? I choose the latter. Continue reading →

Last Dance of the Lemons

The *kids* weren’t the only big winners in California’s Vergara ruling…

dancing lemonsReader: barely had the verdict been announced in the landmark legal case Vergara vs. Lemons when the verdict was reached. The Vergara verdict represents a huge win for the kids. My own favorite verdict came swiftly from value investor Whitney Tilson who *stopped the presses* an unprecedented quintuple times in order to announce that the Vergara decision was a *grand slam for students* and a *grim day for the Blob.* (Note: if you are regular reader of this blog, you are a de facto Blob member.) Which got me to wondering. Might there be some other beneficiaries of the Vergara victory, besides the kids that is? I’m recommending an extra lemon twist to today’s featured quaff—you’ll need it. Continue reading →

A Buffet of Excellence

Michelle Rhee and company serve up heaping helpings of some familiar fare

By Sarah Lahm
Michelle Rhee and her cavalry of status quo blasters recently braved the frigid Minnesota winter to present a veritable buffet of warmed-over ideas for boosting our sad, slumping schools and closing our many cavern-sized gaps. From *grit* and *rigor* to healthy portions of data consumed throughout the day to helpful tips on avoiding the unpleasant taste of *corporate education reform,* it was familiar fare—and there was plenty of it. Here’s a taste.

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Nice Work If U Can Get It

What’s behind those sky high charter salaries?

Harlem Village Academies chief Deborah Kenny earns $500,000 to run her burgeoning empire of excellence.

The eye-popping salaries commanded by some New York City charter execs are raising eyebrows, not to mention the hackles of haters. As a state-of-the-art technology known as Google quickly reveals, though, it’s not just in the Big Apple where charter chiefs are pulling down mad cheddar. But talking about money is so gauche, reader, which is why so many of these excellent execs insist on keeping compensation information to themselves.  Continue reading →