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 →

Meet the Boston Municipal Research Bureau

Sam Tyler, the chief of the Boston Municipal “Research” Bureau, is focused like a laser on ridding the city’s schools of lazy, overpaid teachers. Thirsty work indeed!

Expert research. Independent analysis. Trusted results. What else is there to be said about this combination think tank, number cruncher and self-appointed “change agent” that the Boston Globe once called “A powerful force for constructive change in city government? I certainly can’t think of anything…

Now for those of you who might be new to the Boston Municipal Research Bureau’s particular brand of “research,” the EduShyster is pleased to give you a quick and handy overview. The Bureau’s unbiased, independent perspective largely consists of the following: Boston teachers are lazy and overpaid (as are all of the city’s public employees) and are protected by an iron-clad, 15,000 page contract that they have unilaterally imposed upon the city. That’s it. The group’s widely cited “reports” largely consist of their crack staff researchers making these points over and over again in an attractive, two-column format complete with contrasting fonts, plenty of pull quotes and the occasional sidebar for reiterating the highlights of the “report.” Continue reading →