Arne Does Boston

Behind this week’s non-story is an interesting story…

What a week, reader! The excellence express rolled into the Bay State, carrying some seriously career-ready cargo—none other than Arne Duncan himself. What do you mean you didn’t know anything about it??? Now ordinarily this is the point at which I would lambaste you for eschewing excellence in favor of conducting your own race to the bottom of the wine box. But you’re off the hook. You see, almost no one knew that Arne was in town this week as his visit garnered nary an inch of newsprint. Which seems a little, well, odd, given that the battle over the Liftin O’ the Charter Cap is reaching its acme. Tin foil at the ready, reader. It’s time for another edition of *the story behind the story.*  Continue reading →

No Excuses for “No Excuses” Bull@#$%

The military style, “no excuses” schools that education reformers are pushing on poor and minority kids are directly at odds with the civil rights language they use.

Perhaps the most outrageous contradiction in corporate education reform rhetoric is the vast gap between the civil rights language used by reformers and the programs they’re actually pushing: low-rent charters for minority kids, complete with a “no excuses,” pull-up-your-pants curriculum that would never fly in a white suburban school.

A reminder of the full extent of the reformers’ hypocrisy arrived in the EduShyster tip box just this week. A recent participant in a program called the Rhode Island Teaching Fellows, part of the Michelle Rhee-founded New Teacher Project (TNTP), wrote to describe her experience in their 5 week teacher training session. Moved by the catch phrase “Let’s close the achievement gap,” the writer’s initial excitement about teaching in one of Rhode Island’s high needs urban schools soon turned to shock at the content of what she and her fellow fellows were actually being taught. I encouraged her to send her story to Diane Ravitch and you can read it here. Continue reading →