Save Hirsh!

Was a popular Manhattan Beach, CA teacher fired for speaking out?

Save Hirsh 2It’s field trip time, reader, and you’ll need your upscale duds for this trek. We’re headed to Manhattan Beach, CA, known for spectacular coastal views, pricey real estate and some of the highest performing schools in the Golden State. But these days there’s something fishy in the air here—and it’s not just the sea lions. For weeks now, students and parents in Manhattan Beach have been up in arms over the firing of Tim Hirsh, a beloved French teacher at Mira Costa High. So why exactly did Hirsh get the axe? There’s only one way to find out, reader. Into the bathyspheres—we’ve got murky waters to plumb…   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 →

Money Matters

Teach for America alumnus Ben Spielberg talks Vergara vs. California, teachers unions and why education reform without social justice isn’t possible.

TFA alum is now a leader of the San Jose Teachers Association.

TFA alum Ben Spielberg is now a leader of the San Jose Teachers Association.

EduShysterVergara vs. California, the landmark case that seeks to eliminate tenure for teachers, wrapped up this week. Do you think the plaintiffs made their case? 

SpielbergI’ve got to believe that they won’t win because their case was really bad. Even the experts they brought in to testify have found that there’s not that much disparity in terms of teaching quality between lower income and higher income schools, and because the statutes in question apply equivalently to low income and high income schools, it would be really hard to prove that they affect lower income and minority students differently than they do higher income students. I think that large part of the plaintiffs’ intention had less to do with winning than with waging a PR campaign against organized labor. The people who are driving this are generally wealthy interests that really dislike the concept that there are due process protections for any workers, not just teachers. They want all employment to be at will and they don’t want a collective voice.  Continue reading →