Kindergarten Suspensions: It’s a *Thing*

We meet a five-year-old who, in his first four months as a kindergartner, was suspended 16 times. In other, words, what????

It’s time for another installment of Have You Heard, listener. In this episode (our third!), we head to Boston for a look at the controversial trend of kindergarten suspension. We go behind the data to bring you the story of a mother and a five-year-old boy who, in his first four months as a kindergartner, was suspended 16 times. Hard to imagine? His mother thinks so too as she struggles to understand how her bright, creative little boy could end up in so much trouble so quickly. After you’ve listened, drop me a line by email or on Twitter to let me know what you thought. I’ll be talking about the issue of kindergarten suspension and other controversial edu-topics in a live webcast on May 11. Sign up here.

Letter to a Young No Excuses Student

This fall, Boston’s largest public elementary school, with an all-minority student body, will reopen as a no-excuses charter.

Dear [insert name here]:
Another school year is about to start and I’ve got some exciting changes to share with you. Your old school, John J. Marshall, with its low expectations and old teachers is no more. Instead, you will be attending UP Academy, an exciting new school with fresh new teachers, fresh new administrators and none of the excuses that were the rule at your old school. So what can you expect? Let’s take a look… Continue reading →

Putting Students First (Whether They Like It Or Not)

Why won’t these Philly students let us put them first?

Putting students first is THE civil rights issue of our time. So what to do when students don’t seem to want to be put first but instead demand to remain in their union-stifled public schools and even want to continue to be taught by their union-stifled teachers? Alas, putting students first is so fiercely urgent that we can’t afford to give students the choice of whether or not they want to be put first. These quick and easy steps will put students first—whether they like it or not. Continue reading →

Is the Boston Globe’s Mad Luv 4 Charters on the Skids?

As regular Boston Globe readers know (and there are still a handful of you out there…),G has MAD luv 4 our local laboratories of innovation and excellence, and none more so than a certain UP Academy. Since UP began its steady UPward trajectory in the spring of 2011, the Globe has devoted untold column inches to singing her praises, including this doozy of a love letter from EduShyster fave Lawrence Harmon: Continue reading →

Missing: Lots and Lots of Charter School Students

UP Academy, which is expanding into Lawrence and recently applied to open another charter school in Boston, lost more than 25% of its students last year.

Since UP Academy took over a public middle school last year, more than 25% of its students have left. Yet state officials continue to tout UP as a success story.

The hot new buzz word in local edu-crat circles these days is “portfolio.” Here–say it with me: port·fo·li·o. Excellent! Now you are probably wondering, what does  “a case for carrying loose papers,” (from Latin, the imperative of portare “to carry” and folium, meaning “a sheet for writing upon”) have to do with closing the achievement gap–unless perhaps those papers are to be stuffed into said gap???

Alas, “portfolio” in this case refers to the many education options that await students who live in a high-poverty, low-performing school district. Or at least that’s what the term WOULD mean if we weren’t in the strange, upside down world of education reform. Instead, “portfolio” really refers to a nonsensical #edreform strategy in which 1) a few schools enjoy the luxury choosing their students while 2) the remaining, truly public schools continue to deal with the reality of poverty that made them low-performing in the first place. Continue reading →