The Mismeasure of Schools: Data, Real Estate and Segregation

Have You Heard Episode #23: The Mismeasure of Schools: Data, Real Estate and Segregation

In this episode, Jennifer Berkshire and Jack Schneider discuss how test scores and other current metrics distort our picture of school quality, often fostering segregation in the process. What would a better set of measures include? Our intrepid hosts venture inside an urban elementary school to find out. You can read the entire transcript here, and be sure to check out Jack’s new book, which is really the star of the latest episode.

Sit Down and Shut Up

I went to a high-performing charter school to become a better teacher. Instead I learned how to silence and punish kids.

Editor’s note: the following piece was written by a charter school teacher whose request for anonymity I honored. Leave comments or email them to me at jennifer@haveyouheardblog.com and I’ll pass them along. 

It’s sexy to be *woke* right now. Some schools are infusing social justice into their curricula, while others are scaling back on harsh discipline practices. At an individual level, an increasing (and still too small) number of people—including a growing number of teachers, most of them young—are posting pictures and statuses on social media about how #BlackLivesMatter.

seth-tobocman.jpg (750×199)I’m no exception. Indeed, this growing movement has had a profound impact on the way I view my role as the white teacher of all students of color. I know it’s vital that I’m aware of the cultural differences between me and my students. I want to show them amazing literature by authors who look like them and expose them to new perspectives. I’m aware of the disparate manner in which discipline is applied at schools along racial lines. I don’t want to contribute to that disparity, or to the school-to-prison pipeline.  In a recent meeting led by teachers of color at my school, I excitedly engaged in a conversation about a cartoon that juxtaposed a white officer yelling at a black man against a white teacher yelling at a black child.

But I have a confession to make… Continue reading →

Rabble Rouser

Lily Eskelsen Garcia is the new president of the NEA and she’s got something to say…

lily

EduShyster: You recently met with President Obama. I’ll ask this first question on behalf of all of my readers: did you set him straight?

Eskelsen Garcia: I can tell you that I had an amazing opportunity to have a very short conversation with the President. I got to ride in the Presidential limo on the way to a labor rally in Milwaukee and I was able to tell him a little about the back-to-school tour I’ve been on and what I’m hearing from teachers. I told him that the constant testing is the number one issue and that teachers tell me again and again: *I’m so excited for school to start and I love my job. Now if I could just get these idiot tests out of the way so that I can actually teach.* I had a chance to express what I think are very honest, passionate and heartfelt responses of educators all over the country. I could see that the President’s wheels were turning. Continue reading →

Only a Test Question

A teacher wreaks havoc upon her students’ college-and-career readiness by denying them the test prep they’ve come to expect…

amplifystudentsBy Sarah Lahm
In a shocking display of misplaced priorities and poor judgment, a teacher in [INSERT NAME OF CITY OR TOWN HERE] made an irreparable error this week. Instead of *teaching to the test,* as she had been subtly, yet repeatedly, instructed to do, this teacher committed the unforgivable sin of teaching her students about the test. This shocking breach occurred in the middle of what used to be known as April but will hence forth and forever be known as National High Stakes Testing Month. Continue reading →

“Don’t Believe the Hype”

A young MBA student tells her classmates that “education reform” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Many of my classmates in business school assume that education reform is a good thing.  Accountability! Improvement!  Closing the Achievement gap! Usually they know some Teach for America alums (who are now lawyers), or they’ve watched “Waiting for Superman.” They’ve heard of charter schools (which of course they didn’t attend), and being business-minded, they assume that privately-run schools will somehow be better.  Because many of my classmates will go on to be business leaders, decision makers, employers and parents, I think it’s important that they understand what education reform is really about. Here’s what I tell them: Continue reading →