A Whale of a Tale

Are Massachusetts Officials Out to Harpoon New Bedford High School?

Ahoy, matey! That great looming specter in the distance is not a mighty white whale but New Bedford High School being turned upside down and shaken till 50% of its teachers fall out. School turnaround time has come to this scenic, hard-scrabble seaport and our trusty state education captains have launched a full sail operation to convince New Bedford residents that throwing half of the high school’s teachers overboard is the only way to reach the distant shores of Excellence. But are the captains on a fool’s errand that could end up capsizing the ship of public education in the Whaling City? Continue reading →

The Waiting List for Superman?

No doubt your state is home to a lengthy waiting list of students trapped in union-stifled public schools. In Massachusetts we call this list a “waiting list” and it is growing lengthier by the day. Not only is there virtually no one left who is NOT on the list, I believe that in fact you are on the list and you don’t even live here and are frankly not a high achiever. Our waiting list for excellence and innovation has now grown so long that policy makers have no choice but to respond to the growing waiting list by making policy that reflects the extraordinary length of the waiting list.  Continue reading →

The Great Deception

How to convince the public to abandon the wishy-washy notion of education for all in three easy steps
It is an indisputably true fact that our public schools are *hopelessly* failing beyond any hope of excellence. Yet the public remains strangely attached to the idea that publicly-funded schools have an obligation to educate all kids. Alas, that old-fashioned notion of equity is like the Lindsay Lohan of principles: washed-up and of waning interest. Today’s edu-visionary is all about excellence: the laser-honed vision of a 21st century skills-lined path to prosperity for a few outstanding strivers. But how to convince the public to abandon the wishy-washy notion of education for all? Continue reading →

Where Chahter Rhymes with Wicked Smahter

In Massachusetts, we like our education debates like our turkeys: fact free and stuffed with excellence.

Greetings from the land of the Massholes, where chahter rhymes with wicked smahter and we like our debates about public education the old-fashioned way: fact free. Did you know, for example, that in the most recent round of international tests, African American students in Massachusetts outscored Finnish students in math? No? Chances are you missed this information—because you live in Massachusetts, where it went completely unreported. Continue reading →

Dropout Nation?

What exactly are college prep academies preparing students for?

A young test-taker at Boston’s City on a Hill Charter School, which is seeking to open two more college prep academies.

And now it’s time for today’s high-stakes test question: which of the following is better at preparing students to attend and complete college? A. Our union-stifled (and indisputably failing) public schools or B. The college prep academies that are popping up like payday loan services in cities everywhere. The correct answer, as you are no doubt aware, should be B—except that we don’t have so much as a SHRED of evidence to back up this proposition. What data we do have paint the sort of picture that you probably won’t find hanging in the offices of the state charter lobby. What gives? It turns out that the martial-arts style test drilling that increasingly reigns supreme at urban charters may not be the ideal way to prepare kids for college. Continue reading →