All the Bad News That’s Fit to Print

Say you’re the Boston Globe and you’ve spent the better part of the last decade railing against the city’s overpaid teachers and their 9,000 25,000 page union contract. Backed by a mini-squadron of corporate shills, your warnings against the state of the city’s public schools have grown increasingly shrill. Now say some really good news arrives in the form of national test scores showing that Boston students have made jaw-dropping gains in math and reading since 2003. What do you do? You give this great news story the real estate it deserves bury it.

Here’s a little context. Boston is one of 21 public school districts across the country that volunteer to take something called the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP test (If you’re a Diane Ravitch fanatic you’re starting to feel tingly about now.) So how well did Boston students do? Between 2003 and 2011, 4th and 8th graders in the Boston Public Schools posted gains that were three times larger than improvements nationwide and about two times greater than gains in the average city. Same again in reading. But here’s the truly jaw dropping part: the math gains in Boston were among the largest seen by any jurisdiction, state or local, in NAEP’s 30-year history. Continue reading →

A Blueprint for ¢hange for Troubled Boston Globe

To: Boston Globe Editorial Staff

From: EduShyster

Re: Boston Globe Turnaround Plan

Well folks, I’ve got good news and bad news. Let’s start with the great news, shall we? There’s FINALLY a coherent plan in place to improve the performance of the Boston Globe, which has been plagued by plunging readership and advertising revenues for YEARS. The plan doesn’t call for anything as dramatic as mass firings of Globe writers and editorial staff (although Larry H. will probably be working what we call in the biz “an extended day.” )

Free daily newspapers will play a key role in the redemption of the Boston Globe. Successful operators, including the Boston Metro, local college newspapers and random blogs, will form partnerships with underperforming departments at the Globe to provide management oversight and produce stories that people actually read. But Globe writers will also have the opportunity for autonomy, if they are up to the task of raising circulation levels for the troubled daily. Should the writers fail to make the most of this freedom from editorial control, more free dailies will likely be recruited for the task in the coming years. Capiche? Continue reading →

Boston Globe to Charters: XOXOXOXOXOXOX

Blinded by love, the Boston Globe can forgive and forget when charter data doesn’t add up

To: Education reporters

From: Globe editorial staff

Re: Great idea for even more positive charter stories

As you know, it’s graduation season, which means that we have a great opportunity to highlight the outstanding-ness of charter schools in Massachusetts. Note: be sure to mention high graduate rates and ambitious plans of new grads. Best to avoid issue of how many students fail to complete all four years as poor results make charters seem less outstanding than we all know that they are. If you need an expert to quote just give a holler. Paul Grogan is an EXCELLENT source and we have him on speed dial.

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Time, Not Talent, Marks a Boston Globe Writer

Lawrence Harmon and other writers at the Boston Globe are covered by a union contract with strict seniority protections in the event of layoffs.

Study after study has proven that teachers get worse and worse the more experience they have. Actually, no study has ever shown anything remotely like this because it is an utterly preposterous claim. And yet I know it’s true because I read it in the Boston Globe at least three times a week.

The Globe’s argument goes something like this: teachers are at their very best when just beginning their careers. Fresh, energetic, innovative and hard working, they are undimpled vessels of excellence. But then that cruel bitch, experience, comes along and ruins them! While their fresh, energetic, innovative and hard working young colleagues race around in front of their smart boards, not content to rest for a moment lest the achievement gap widen under their watch, the old teachers sit at their desks, muffin in one hand, newspaper in the other, counting the days until they can get to Old Orchard Beach and unwind with a 30 pack. Do these oldsters even know what a smart board is???

A perfect stool sample of the Globe’s insistence that teachers get worse with time was on display recently in a Lawrence Harmon special called Talent, Not Time, Marks a Teacher. But don’t take my word for it. I insist that you enjoy some of Harmon’s nuggets of wisdom for yourself. Continue reading →