Kick the Cap

Behind the scenes (and out in the hallway) at the Statehouse charter school hearing…

statehouseAnd that’s a wrap, folks! After nine hours, and thousands of pages of testimony concerning 35 different pieces of legislation—35!—this week’s marathon hearing on the state and future of charter schools in the Bay State had finally reached its end. But still, the question lingered: had anyone actually learned anything? It might surprise you to learn that my answer is an unabashed *Yes.* In fact, I learned quite a lot.
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Happy Teacher Appreciation Day! XOXO Walmart

Imagine that you are possessed of the surname “Walton” and happen to be sitting on mad coin—say a cool $90 billion. How do you celebrate the occasion that is Teacher Appreciation Day? Do you chip in to give the nation’s teachers a raise, knowing they’ve been hard hit by the recession? Do you send them gift cards to Walmart, the store that hath so enrichethed you? If you are a teacher in Massachusetts, the Waltons have an extra special treat in store for you: a fully-funded gala at the Statehouse urging the replacement of the state’s many non-excellent teachers with fresh new innovators who will share their excellence one renewable year at a time. Happy Teacher Appreciation Day, xoxo Walmart! 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 →

A Tale of Two (Virtual) Students

What the new CREDOw report on charter school outstandingess in Massachusetts really says…

Virtual twins Chandra and Polly are exactly the same except that Chandra attends an academy of excellence and innovation while Polly goes to a union-stifled public school.

Meet virtual twins Chandra and Polly. The two share a common strand of demographic and testing DNA, but while Chandra attends a local academy of excellence and innovation, Polly whiles away her short and ineffective days at a union-stifled public school in Boston. Now, thanks to some expert data analysis (helpfully underwritten by our friends at the Walton Foundation), we can track the relative progress of these virtual twins. Will Chandra *crush* Polly on the Massachusetts high-stakes test in math or reading or in math AND reading? Does Polly even know that her teacher is a LIFO lifer who lacks the motivation to help her master 21st century skills? Continue reading →

The Eduttante’s Balls

Eduttante: /ˌedjuˈtänt/
A shill or paid spokesperson advocating strict no-excuses charters for the urban communities in which he or she does not live. Related terms: educolonialist, whiteousness.

Today we meet a new character in our fast-paced edu-drama: the eduttante. This individual is among the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for the academies of excellence and innovation that are rapidly setting up shop in our urban centers. Often paid for his efforts (and rather well at that), the eduttante is a fierce devotee of military-style ‘no excuses’ charter schools—as long as they are for other people’s children. The eduttante’s own spawn seem to thrive in a somewhat, ahem, less restrictive environment.  Continue reading →