Telling Fibs for America

I dedicate this post to my Premium Club readers who simply aren’t excellent enough to Teach for America.

Let’s face it: you and I are never going to be Teach for America material. But while we may not have the goods to join Wendy Kopp’s Kidz we can still experience their freshness and innovation vicariously: by watching the Real Housewives of Miami host a benefit for TFA on Bravo. No doubt you are wondering how in the world EduShyster could know such a thing…Reader: I fear that mine has been a wasted life of debauchery and exceedingly low expectations.

But what if you want to associate yourself with the excellence of the TFA brand without besmirching thyself with the taint of reality television? Good news again: you can vote for one of an apparently ENDLESS supply of TFA candidates currently running for office. You see, once the two years are up and the TFA-er is officially a life-long educator, it’s time to take the next logical career step: talking about one’s accomplishments to the broadest possible audience. Continue reading →

Rephormy Little Liars

What Joel Klein’s “life story” tells us about about Education Reform, Inc.

Low Expectations High School, which Joel Klein attended. Physics teacher Sidney Harris rescued Klein from near certain mediocrity and launched him on his life-long crusade—against teachers.

So Joel Klein’s father was not an illiterate turd farmer who once tore up the pages of young Joel’s only book and smoked them in his corn cob pipe—what’s the big deal??? When you are literally trying to close the achievement gap with your own bare hands, facts have a tendency to stray. The important thing is that Mr. Sidney Harris, the teacher whom Joel Klein credits with rescuing him from a low-expectations hell, inspired Klein to launch his life-long crusade against teachers.

If you’ve missed the latest scandal to rock the hallways of Education Reform, Inc, allow me to break it down for you. It turns out that Klein wasn’t adopted by African American sharecroppers, and that little flourish he throws in on the edu-stump about having dyslexia and being locked in the closet at school only to be freed by a sassy barkeep, midriff barely covered by her parent-trooper t-shirt? That’s fiction too. But the ending, where Klein is hired by Rupert Murdoch, to peddle edu-products to the public schools while playing the part of a high-minded innovator, that alas is all too true. Continue reading →

The Real Housewives of Corporate Education Reform

What does the corporate education reform movement have in common with the many outstanding reality TV shows that EduShyster secretly enjoys? If you answered “silicon” you are partially right. Like Gretchen, Tamra and Alexis, the myriad organizations that make up the #edreform movement can be very difficult to tell apart. (EduShyster is longing for the day when all of the groups will gather for a Real Housewives-style reunion, laying into one another with shrill accusations of “fakeness.”) Continue reading →

Stand for Children: Where Did You Go????

Hey Stand–wait up! Where are you guys going??? What if I fall into the achievement gap???

Remember the final throes of Stand for Children’s successful hostage taking campaign push for legislative reform? Why just a few weeks ago it was impossible to avoid Stand’s tremendous corporate funded megaphone grassroots outpouring, as they blanketed the state with ads, email blasts, tweets status updates, even texts about their campaign to get rid of experienced teachers and replace them with cheaper ones put teacher effectiveness first.

The EduShyster’s tweet stream was literally clogged with urgent messages from @JasonWilliamsMA and @MassStand to the tune of:  “There is still work to be done to ensure every child has a chance at a bright & successful future,” and “We Are Stand for Children. We work together to ensure that every MA child has access to Great Teachers & Great Schools.”

But no sooner had Governor Patrick heeded the pressure of Stand’s blackmail campaign army of grassroots supporters than Stand went dark.That’s right: not so much as a single tweet, blog update, or web announcement since July 3rd. Stand: do you know how many students have fallen into the achievement gap since then??? Jason??? That one teacher who appears in all of your promotional materials??? Where did everybody go??? Continue reading →

Every Child Deserves a Teacher of the Year*

*Even if that teacher has no experience or credentials

Like you, I need to start each day by consuming a steaming nugget of wisdom from edu-genius Michelle Rhee. That’s how I know that most, if not all, of our nation’s BEST teachers are brand new to the classroom and are free from the burden of unnecessary credentials. So how unfair is it that most states won’t even allow these top teachers to be considered in their annual Teacher of the Year contests? That’s right: at this very moment a state bureaucrat is passing over a newly minted edu-starlet in favor of some LIFO lifer whose only accomplishment (other than being nominated as a top teacher by his or her peers) is hanging on.

We need a campaign to fix this injustice ASAP, and I know just who should lead it.

From: Your biggest edu-fan

Dear Jason: Every child deserves a Teacher of the Year, wouldn’t you agree? And yet too many of our children are denied the opportunity of being taught by a Teacher of the Year because states like Massachusetts and California refuse to recognize that the BEST teachers often lack experience and credentials. Won’t you take the lead and fix this egregious injustice once and for all?

Your own personal story–your ‘race to the top,’ as I’ve come to think of it–will be essential as we try to roll back these stifling Teacher of the Year regulations. Imagine how inspiring it will be for others in your brand new shoes to hear the story of how you overcame California’s onerous and burdensome requirements that Teacher of the Year nominees have 1) at least 7 years in the classroom and 2) a teaching license. I mean, my God, when will the ceaseless punishment of excellence finally cease?

Naturally we will need to consider legislation to fix this, perhaps using a threatened ballot initiative for leverage. I’ll leave the details up to you and Jonah…


Hat tip to Boston teacher @columwhyte for alerting me to the fact that Williams, a TFA alum, retired from teaching at age 23, unlicensed after a year and 10 months in the classroom.