Hogwarts University for Education Reform

What if there was a way to combine the two fiercest urgencies of today: college preparation and reforming our failed and failing public schools? Reader: I’ve got some great news. Pack up the beer pong table and the Mötley Crüe poster—we’re headed to college. Welcome to 50CAN University, the college for people who want to put other people on a path to college. 

Meet the faculty
The most important part of any higher education experience is the drinking games and the casual sex the faculty, and you won’t believe the superstars who have signed on to be 50CAN University professors. Let’s meet them, shall we?

Who knew that Sojourner Truth would turn out to be as passionate about ending teacher tenure as she was about abolishing slavery? Or that Clara Lemlich, who organized a massive strike of lady garment workers in New York, has returned just in time to denounce the female-dominated teachers unions? Of course it is no surprise to learn that the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who once shamed the Argentine military dictatorship for the disappearance of their children, are now saying no mas to seniority-based layoffs. You can learn more about all of the 50CAN University professors from the Wikipedia entries from which they appear to have been lifted. (Note to 50CAN University administrators: what is the school policy on plagiarism?)

Majoring in excellence
Now that we’ve signed up for our classes (“Class Size Doesn’t Matter” with Nelson Mandela, “The Growth and Scale Up of Successful Charter Schools” with The Unknown Rebel), it’s time to decide on a major. Luckily for us, 50CAN U, the self-proclaimed Hogwarts of education reform, only offers one major: excellence.

50CAN University was founded on the belief that closing the achievement gap will therefore require nothing short of excellence: excellent education policies ushered into law by excellent advocates.

And don’t forget the crest
Any university worth its salt also has an excellent crest. Harvard has the crimson shield emblazoned with “veritas”; Oxford has its seal and the motto “the Lord is my light.” But these schools have nothing on 50CAN U. For one thing, their faculty members are still alive, and neither school offers a major in excellence. The motto at 50CAN U is “In scholis omnia mutantur,” or money changes everything “all things are changed in the schools.” But no doubt you want to know more about the specific images contained in the crest of excellence. Why is there an ant, for example, and are those hemlock leaves, symbolizing the inevitable death of our public school system? Fortunately, 50CAN U deans are eager to share.

  • The falcon is a symbol of one who does not rest until the objective is achieved. At 50CAN, we will not rest until every child has access to a great public school.
  • The ant signifies labor, wisdom and providence in one’s affairs. As perpetual students of advocacy and education policy, we aim to be thoughtful and diligent in all of our work, from policy research to the selection of the reforms we advocate for to the way we advocate for those reforms.
  • The torch is a symbol of truth and intelligence. We’re not advocating change for change’s sake. That’s why we search and then advocate for only the best, research-backed ideas.
  • The shield represents a defender. At 50CAN, we are dedicated to defending the interests of America’s youngest constituents because they can’t yet speak up for themselves.
  • The aspen leaves represent determination and overcoming one’s fears and doubts. No one said changing the status quo and closing the achievement gap would be easy. It will take hard work, courage and long-term commitment. That’s why 50CAN’s model centers on raising up local leaders in education reform who are in it for the long haul.

Big Man on CANpus
While you probably won’t run into Sojourner Truth or Raphael Lemkin at the student center, there are plenty of BMOC’s hanging around the 50CAN U campus. OMG: was that Teach for America CEO Matt Kramer playing hacky sack on the quad??? And the Moby-look-alike in line at the vegan burrito stand was none other than 50CAN U president, Marc Porter Magee! If KIPP Foundation CEO and President Richard Barth wasn’t already married to Wendy Kopp, who used to be the CEO of Teach for America before Matt Kramer took over as CEO of Teach for America, I would be SO crushing on him right now…

50 Shades of Green
Of course 50CAN U isn’t just a university. It’s also a gra$$roots movement, which is why  iconic activists like Nelson Mandela or Clara Lemlich were such obvious choices to join the faculty here. You see, Mandela and the rest of the 50CAN U professoriate all understand that any genuine social uprising must be run by the very rich. A little known fact: the famous Chinese Unknown Rebel was actually a hedge-fund manager.

Send college admissions essays to tips@haveyouheardblog.com.


  1. I see MinnCAN’s two lobbyists are aptly named: “The Insider” and “The Bridge.” Dig “The Captain” and “The Harmonizer,” too.


    Slick website, vacuous content, just like their hedge fund backers and ladder climbing employees.

  2. Hah. Best lines of season, “money changes everything,” and “any genuine social uprising must be run by the rich.”

    You’re in fine, fine form lately Edushyster.

  3. Wow! I thought you were kidding when you showed “the professors” until I looked at the website! What garbage! How on earth do these people (the 50-CANN, not the “professors”) sleep at night?

  4. I looked at the 50Can website and now I need to go shower and wash away the yuckies!

    Edushyster – you are the best!

  5. Look at all those young, fresh faces, nary a wrinkle on them! Just waiting to kick our old, experienced cans to the curb! I mean, who better to rephorm education than a 24-year-old with two years of teaching under his/her belt!? I’m SURE Harvard and Yale must be quaking in their boots just thinking about the competition from 50CAN!

  6. It would be hysterical if it wasn’t true. It is truly unbelievable how low some people will stoop for the almighty dollar.

    Every time the very rich claim ownership of social uprisings on behalf of commoners, we need to drag out David Sirota’s enlightening Education “Reform” video to set the record straight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2LJzEuodZw

  7. This is just another part of the Orwellian strategy demonstrated by Arne Duncan’s speech at the AERA conference. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arnold-dodge/the-solution-to-a-bad-guy_b_3238930.html They have realized that their messaging is not working and is in fact counter productive, so, based on the success of our push back, they are co-opting our message, our territory, to muddy the waters to the greatest extent possible to claim that they are us while pursuing business as usual, ramping up their attacks as one would expect. While we find a horrific humor in this particular farce, it is nothing to laugh at as they have the money, media access and other resources needed to make it succeed. It is also further proof that they have nothing left but lies, diversion and deception and have chosen to embrace those scurrilous tactics wholeheartedly. Their method here is to use both popular culture, Harry Potter, and the co-opting of deceased hero’s of the social justice movement as the sheep’s clothing to hide the Trojan Wolf of corporate reform. An uninformed but otherwise intelligent person sympathetic to these identities is easily fooled. I have seen this happen. Our refutation is simple: their version of Hogwarts is being run by the Dementors. Their true faculty are the Death Eaters who make ready use of the dark arts, not our dead hero’s. Once their lies are laid bare, the persons first fooled will not fall for it again and will be our allies. The lemonade we can make from this is all the sweeter as they are targeting people who will be the most offended when they discover they have been tricked by the corporate reformers. That, as always, is our task. Here is another view of the Trojan Wolf. https://haveyouheardblog.com/?p=2754

  8. From their website describing what they want from a “Policy & Research Manager”

    “Superb research, analytical and writing abilities; the ability to quickly gather and analyze both quantitative and qualitative education-related information from various sources with strong attention to detail.”

    The key word here being “quickly” – solid research is NOT quick if it’s not being done by a robot. Especially if it’s for a complex issue.

    When you want “quick” in a field like this, it means a simplistic way of looking at things and shaping data points to say what you want rather than figuring out what they really mean – quick analysis of meaningful data is an oxymoron.

  9. A PhD is a foundational step to an academic life. Quite a few people seem to be forgetting this lately. There are several areas that where one can function without one. But from an employable perspective, I can’t see how people would want to avoid it.

  10. I wonder what Nelson Mandela or his family would say to his inclusion on the “faculty” (I can only use that word in quotes). Disgraceful. 🙁 I also feel like I need a shower after reading that website.

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