Bottom of the Barrel

Plumbing the depths of elite disdain

First off, let’s get this straight: Arne Duncan (Harvard ’87) did not say that the majority of American teachers come from the *bottom of the barrel.* What he actually said was that “In the United States, a significant proportion of new teachers come from the bottom third of their college class”—which is completely different. For one thing, there is no mention of barrels in that statement. So why did so many teachers hear Duncan talking down to them—in the bottom of their barrel? Simple, reader—and by *simple* I am referring to you. You see, the barrel’s bottom is an enormous place, and shooting into it an elite sport as beloved as the hunting of the pheasant.  Continue reading →

Those Who Can’t, Write

What is it about New York Times columnists and education???

It’s time now for a feature in which I do something I am almost never allowed to do at home: unswizzle my wine box before noon go on and on (and on) about the latest New York Times column to work me into a lather. Today’s offender actually appeared on Saturday, which means that I have managed to hold in my rich and spicy commentary for the past two days. The author of the offending column: none other than Joe Nocera, a business columnist who has decided to turn his attention to the fiercely urgent cause of transforming teacher education. What could possibly go wrong?
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