Building Tomorrow’s Walmart Workers—Today

Our nation’s fate hangs in the balance—and once again the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of our union-stifled public schools. Reader: I give you the skills gap. Perhaps the most fiercely urgent chasm we’ve encountered to date, the skills gap refers to the vast unfilled space between current and future job openings and the skills of the people looking for jobs.

Or that’s what we’re supposed to think it means. The real skills gap is between what workers have—a fierce desire not to live in their cars—and what their employers wantto pay them as little as possible. Which brings us to today’s fiercely urgent question: if the skills gap demands that we dismantle our public schools pronto, what kind of schools are best suited to producing the cheap, compliant workers that tomorrow’s employers so urgently need today? The answer: excellent schools. Continue reading →

EDjango Unchained: The Coming Revolt against ‘No Excuses’ Schools

A middle-school student at a ‘no-excuses’ school in Memphis.

For tens of thousands of black and brown students who attend what are billed as “college-prep” academies, today’s return to school begins as always: in straight, silent lines. For these students, more and more of them in our cities every day, school is now synonymous with control. While the specific systems of rewards and punishments vary from one urban charter school to another, the premise is the same: poor minority children must be made to be compliant. Resistance is met with still more punishment until the lesson is finally learned: compliance = success. No excuses. Continue reading →