Fatuous Pablum

David Kirp says that teaching isn’t a business—and that makes a lot of people really mad…

kirp-improbablescholars1EduShyster: Let me try to break this to you gently. Your recent New York Times piece, Teaching Is Not a Business, didn’t win you a lot of friends on Twitter. In fact, one of your detractors referred to your entire oeuvre as *fatuous pablum.*

David Kirp: Wow—I seem to have provoked, not just outrage, but a mixed metaphor. Pablum, which is actually spelled pabulum, is something you eat.

EduShyster: Perhaps the point was that if one consumes too much pablum, one grows fatuous. I’m curious though, did you hear from any of your critics directly? Continue reading →

Thar’s Choice in Them Thar Hills

Will DougCo voters choose the right choice?

It’s election season in America’s choiciest locale, Douglas County, Colorado, USA. And that can only mean one thing: DougCo residents will soon be making a choice about choice. But will they make the right choice? And is there someone, or better yet, many someones who can descend upon DougCo in order to help them choose wisely? Reader: saddle up the ponies and prepare the choice wagons—we’re headed west.
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#Cagebusting 101

Everything that’s wrong with the contemporary education reform movement—wrapped up in a single, noxious term.

If you have managed to live your life so far without once uttering the expression “cage busting,” alas your luck has run out. The first rule of cage busting is that you have to talk about cage busting—a lot. But what does this mysterious term mean, and from whence did it come? Reader: I give you Dr. Rick Hess, the designated intellectual of the education reform movement, and expert on all things cage busting. Continue reading →

Learning (Absolutely Nothing) From Finland

Finnish students prepare to take a high-stakes Findardized test. According to Finnish educational custom, their teacher will be exiled to Greenland should the students score poorly on the exam.

We have a lot to learn from Finland’s stunning educational success story—such as how they narrowed a once significant achievement gap (saavutus kuilu in Finnish) to the size of a small crevasse without using a single patented #edreform strategy. I mean, come on Finns! Everyone who is anyone knows that the only way to improve public schools is to close them, hand them over to private operators and fire LOTS of teachers.

And don’t even think about taking on an issue as complex and weighty as addressing education inequities without the heft of a corporate-funded education reform movement behind you. What’s that Finland??? There’s no such thing as Teach for Finland? OK, but you have StudentsFinst right? FinCan? The Finnish Federation of Students? Stand for Finnish Children?  What about Demokraatit  För Koulutuksen Uudistusta or FFER?  Well you MUST have a totally grassroots movement which has emerged spontaneously on college campuses across Finland devoted to eliminating tenure for teachers, or hallintaoikeus as the kids call it. What’s that Finland? You don’t have any of these??? Permit me to make use of Google translator to communicate the following to you: Tässä ei ole mitään vitun järkeä! Continue reading →