Back 2 Basics

Everything that’s wrong with urban education reform in a single, bitter-tasting tale

B2BReader: I feel that I must address the elephant in the room. I’m talking, of course, about history—the sore subject that is absolutely not being eliminated from the Boston Public Schools. And irregardless of what you may have heard, there is no truth at all to the rumor that students in the city’s schools will now receive their daily dose of history and social studies only at lunchtime, served up from the schools’ fallow salad bars by historical impersonators. I’m happy to report that a growing number of students in Boston can look forward to a rich and nutritious curriculum, if by rich and nutritious you mean *two squares* of math and English.  Continue reading →

Charter Cap ‘n Gown

That path to college turns out to be exceptionally narrow…

hats‘Tis the season to celebrate our boy and girl graduates, reader. And in Massachusetts, aka *the Achievement State,* what better way to do just that than by raising the cap on excellence itself with a bold vote to hoist the cap on charter schools? Presto! Like that, the path to college and career readiness just got wider, and with nary a union laborer or detail cop in sight. But like a graduation party gone bad, this story too comes with an unwelcome guest: facts. It turns out that the number of students—particularly boys—who actually graduate from Boston’s charter high schools is minuscule. In fact, students at Boston’s six charter high schools are no more likely to graduate than their public school peers.  Continue reading →

Tip of the Cap, Wag of the Finger

HatTipCartoonIt’s the height of charter cap-lifting season here in Massachusetts, which means that talk of excellence and achievement abounds—along with plenty of wagging fingers (read threats) aimed at those who would dare to stand in the way of excellence and achievement. And things officially took a turn for the crazy this week when the fervent anti-cap-sters at the Pioneer Institute charged the state’s Secretary of Education with *anti-charter bigotry,* a disorder that will soon have its own entry in the DSMContinue reading →

The Case of the Missing College Graduates

Grab your magnifying glass, reader, and a heaping helping of fingerprint powder too—we’re going sleuthing. College graduates are the object of today’s inquiry, specifically students who, after attending urban academies of excellence and innovation, go on to attend college at STAGGERING numbers, yet disappear completely when it is time for that beloved tradition: the data round up. While it is an indisputable true fact that students who attend charter schools graduate from college and find outstanding 21st century jobs at rates that shame and embarrass their peers at Low Expectations High, you might be surprised to learn that there is exactly no research documenting that true fact. Well, there is one study. A 2011 report by KIPP Academy found that a mere 30 % of students graduating from KIPP schools actually graduate from college. Continue reading →

Epic Charter Fail

Gloucester, MA is home to Massachusetts’ most dysfunctional charter school. So why won’t state officials pull the plug? Because putting the school out of its misery would call new attention to its murky origins.

If you’ve managed to miss out on the long and sorry saga of the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School, consider yourself lucky. Alas, your good fortune is at an end. You’ll need a large Dark and Stormy to get through this one–and don’t skimp on the rum. Continue reading →