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 →

Have Elevator, Will Elevate (the Teaching Profession)

How making teaching a career no one wants will finally make our kids college and career ready…

elevatorThe year was 2014 and, alas, all was not right with the world. Income inequality in these United States had both soared and skyrocketed to levels not seen since the 1920’s, and the middle class was living just a little less large. Some pointed to the collapse of labor unions as part of the problem, but that explanation seemed too obvious. Then another, far more intriguing explanation began to gain currency, particularly among those who possessed a great deal of currency. The blame for the country’s slide lay with teachers who, coincidentally, happened to belong to one of the country’s few remaining unions. Could there be a connection? Continue reading →

The Credibility Gap

What if the *solution* turns out to be a big part of the problem?

credibility gapBy Sarah Lahm
Friends, we have a problem on our hands. It turns out that experienced teachers—otherwise known as LIFO lifers—may not be causing the chasm of the achievement gap all by their lazy little selves. Now you’re probably thinking to yourself at this point: *color me confused.* After all, everyone who is anyone has been telling us for about as long as we can remember now that there is a money-back guaranteed way to boost all children up, no matter their zip code or lack thereof: de-tenurize teachers and take their golden *seniority* tickets while we’re at it.  Continue reading →

Michelle Rhee’s Hero Problem

Does heroism hold value in Michelle Rhee’s measure of a teacher’s worth?

In the annals of tin-eared condolence statements, the one released by Michelle Rhee in the wake of the Newtown school shooting stands out. Her very word choices felt stilted and wrong, evoking a strange world in which children are “assets,” stunned and reeling teachers are “colleagues,” and family are the members of Rhee’s own “team.” But if the statement began on an off note, worse was still to come. The lesson of the hours-old tragedy, Rhee seemed to conclude, was that she’d been right along. “Improve schools for children,” (read, eliminate tenure and other workplace protections for teachers) and thereby “improve entire communities” (read, prevent senseless slaughter). As for her parting, there was nothing left for Rhee to do but double down, announcing that she and the entire StudentsFirst organization—”including the members of our team in Connecticut“—were recommitting to their mission today. Not two days from now, when the first of the unending series of memorials would begin, not a week from now when the funerals would at last be over, but today.
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