STEM Cells

What if there was an easy peasy way to solve the skills gap, the STEM gap, the achievement gap, the expectations gap and the next, yet-to-be-named gap? Great news, reader! According to the New York Times a solution to our STEMtacular crisis lies within imminent reach. You see, reader, our failed and failing public schools rely on conventional methods to teach math and science, resulting in the many gaps listed above. But thanks to the unconventional methods utilized by the Knowledge is Power Program or KIPP, lower-income minority students are no longer being held back. Just what are these unconventional methods? Safety goggles on—we’re headed into the excellence lab… Continue reading →

Those Who Can’t, Write

What is it about New York Times columnists and education???

It’s time now for a feature in which I do something I am almost never allowed to do at home: unswizzle my wine box before noon go on and on (and on) about the latest New York Times column to work me into a lather. Today’s offender actually appeared on Saturday, which means that I have managed to hold in my rich and spicy commentary for the past two days. The author of the offending column: none other than Joe Nocera, a business columnist who has decided to turn his attention to the fiercely urgent cause of transforming teacher education. What could possibly go wrong?
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Excellence Goggles: Seeing the World Like a New York Times Writer

Excellence goggles like these are de riguer among New York Times writers.

The New York Times has long been known as “the grey lady” referring to its historical tendency to present a higher-than-usual proportion of copy to graphics (thank you, Wikipedia!). But might that moniker also refer to the thick cloud of ganja smoke fog of excellence through which the Times’ many excellent writers view the world? What else but a serious case of the “excellence goggles” could possibly account for the current state of education “reporting” at the nation’s most excellent newspaper? So reader, if you’re playing along at home, now is the time to strap on your own goggles and gaze in astonished rapture at the edu-landscape the way that it appears to a New York Times writer. Note: If you are wondering why everyone suddenly appears so small, it is because you are looking down on them from the  acme of Mt. Merit, home to the select tribe known as homo excellentus as well as a few friends in high places. Here’s a peek at the world as seen through excellence goggles… Continue reading →

NYC: Ground Zero for Edu-Hucksterism

In a typical year, Deborah Kenny replaces half of the teachers at Harlem Village Academy Charter School with teachers who are fresher and more innovative. 

Why it seems like mere days ago that EduShyster was leading a tour through the phantasy land that is Education Reform, Inc. Along the way we encountered miracle teachers who dazzled us with their pheats of strength, and miracle students, whose smiling visages light up so many of our favorite #edreform websites. Well reader, imagine EduShyster’s surprise to find one of our phantasy stops—Deborah Kenny’s Harlem Village Academy Charter School—right smack in the middle of the New York Times op-ed page this week.

You see Kenny runs what is best known as a miracle school. A quick review for the public school teachers who were on break when we last visited the topic. The miracle school is just like a regular school only 100 times more innovative and with 1000 times more best practices. Best of all, the miracle school has students that are EXACTLY THE SAME as the students who attend sucky public schools—which proves once and for all that poverty absolutely does not matter. What’s more, the miracle school is typically led by a plucky blonde heroine (check!), is the subject of phawning media coverage (check, check, check!) and continues to receive said coverage EVEN AFTER MIRACLE CLAIMS ARE REPEATEDLY DEBUNKED (check, check!) Continue reading →

Is Education Reform Like Crack for Columnists?

Columnist Nicholas Kristof on the phone with a representative of EdReform, Inc.

Much of the the reporting on the Chicago teachers strike has been of a surprisingly non-idiotic quality—especially by journalists who took the unusual step of going to Chicago and interviewing people who teach, send their children to public schools or attend such schools themselves.

But what to do if one is a prominent national columnist who is unable to leave one’s desk due to the extremely large number of followers to whom he must tweet throughout the day? Such was the fate of one Nicholas Kristof, who, apparently unable to make time even to Google “Chicago education reform, history of,” (try this experiment yourself at home, bold reader) managed to produce a column at once staggeringly misinformed, condescending and inane. Continue reading →