No Clean Hands

I’m responsible for the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Are you?

By Alicia
18th century political and moral philosopher Joseph de Maistre said every country gets the leader it deserves.  More recently, professor and public intellectual Tressie McMillan Cottom pointed out there are no innocent parties in the expansion of market-based education. That’s over two centuries of wisdom firmly identifying us, *We the People,* as just as responsible for the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education as President Donald Trump.

How are you or I responsible for the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education?

It was President Trump who picked her, which makes sense, as his own for-profit education company defrauded thousands of students. But you and I also helped DeVos get to her position. We’re implicated too, despite our protest of the selection of a woman who has used her financial and social capital to undermine public education. My contribution to Betsy DeVos’ appointment is that I consistently failed to pay attention to what was occurring in public education. Continue reading →

The Great Equity Test

Xian Franzinger Barrett argues that accountability without equity means more inequity…

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Chicago teacher Xian Barrett.

EduShyster: OK—I need you to set me straight here. Is ensuring that we continue to test kids in high-needs schools the civil rights issue of our time? Or is striking a blow against too much testing in high-needs schools the civil rights issue of our time? Or is civil rights actually the civil rights issue of our time?

Xian Franzinger BarrettThe people who are talking about this genuinely on both sides are talking about the same thing, it’s just that the problem they’re trying to address is pervasive and terrible. This idea that we’re unseen and unheard unless we’re measured has a basis in history and reality, so I think it’s important that we don’t lose that. But anyone who says *you’re not going to be acknowledged unless you’re tested* is either too pessimistic or they’re racist. We also have to acknowledge that the very fact that people aren’t being supported or treated equitably unless they’re measured is racism. No one would ever say: *the rich kids in this private school—we don’t have a good measurement of them so we’re just not going to give them an education.* That’s just ridiculous. Continue reading →

EduShyster’s Sister Schools President Obama

Some 400 teachers sent letters to President Obama this week, including EduShyster’s sister, who just happens to look very much like Tina Fey.

EduShyster is often asked from whence her impressive body of knowledge about public education comes. Is she a teacher? (No) Does she really carry a box of wine everywhere she goes? (What do you mean by ‘everywhere’?) You see reader, I couldn’t help but learn a thing or two about education because I am from a family FULL of teachers. And while an aversion to children kept me from following in their sensible shoes, I have still learned a thing or 2 million from them over the years.

In case you missed it, some 400 teachers sent letters to President Obama this week, expressing concern about the fate of their profession and their schools in an age of corporate-driven reforms. You can read all of the letters here. My favorite of these was written by MY VERY OWN SISTER, who says that for her and her colleagues at a rural Illinois school, teaching is now akin to working in a pressure cooker full of acronyms: NCLB, AYP, ISAT, AIMS WEB, PERA, PBIS, RtI, UBD, PARCC, CCLS. Ouch!

While my sister represents the third generation in our family to go into teaching, she’ll likely be the last. None of her four children wants to become a teacher; my sister is encouraging them to pursue careers that allow for more freedom and creativity, such as parking lot attendant or prison guard.  I’m very proud of my sister for writing this letter, which is why I’m posting it in its entirety. That and the fact that I’m angling for an especially nice Christmas gift… Continue reading →