Confessions of a D-List Reformer

Everything you ever wanted to know about education reform land but were afraid to ask…

By *The 49er*whisper-in-ear
I have a confession—I am an education reformer. So what am I doing here, hooking up with the likes of EduShyster? I got involved in the education reform movement because I honestly believe that all kids in this country deserve a better public education system. I wish that the same could be said of all of my peers in the movement. My insider’s perspective has given me some unique insights into the education reform movement and I’ll be sharing them with you here.

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Terrible Twos

EduShyster turns two years old—and confronts some fiercely urgent questions…

toddler pics 4So what are some of the big lessons you learned this year?
That when you establish yourself as an obnoxious online presence, you go over surprisingly well when people meet you in real life. And that when you use a combination of facts and whimsy, and basically say the same things over and over again, every once in a while people actually pay attention. Also, that there appear to be quite a few people doing extraordinarily well by *doing good*… Continue reading →

Teaching Alongside TFA Special Forces

Meet the Green Berets of Excellence

forcesBy Johnny Bravo
My story starts some years back, on my first day on the job as a public school teacher. (After twenty years of private industry work and collegiate teaching experience, I shifted gears relatively recently and became a teacher). Having expected to encounter a balanced mix of experienced-to-new teachers, I was surprised at what seemed to be an extremely large number of very young recruits at our orientation. Although they weren’t introduced to us as being part of Teach for America, it didn’t take long to find out. While we all wore the same uniform, so to speak, there was something different about them. Continue reading →

Don’t Back Down

An Open Letter to TFA: Don’t Back Down in Newark

HoodieDear Teach for America:

As an alum of your program, I like to keep apprised of your goings-on. Though we may have our differences, I always try to appreciate your bolder efforts. So I’m thrilled to see you taking a valiant stand in Newark, where the district is preparing to can over a thousand teachers without regard to seniority and in contravention of state tenure law. Remaining in a district so openly hostile to career educators must require not just millions from the Walton Family Foundation, but the bold resolve of knowing you’re part of the civil rights struggle of our generation.  Continue reading →

Money Matters

Teach for America alumnus Ben Spielberg talks Vergara vs. California, teachers unions and why education reform without social justice isn’t possible.

TFA alum is now a leader of the San Jose Teachers Association.

TFA alum Ben Spielberg is now a leader of the San Jose Teachers Association.

EduShysterVergara vs. California, the landmark case that seeks to eliminate tenure for teachers, wrapped up this week. Do you think the plaintiffs made their case? 

SpielbergI’ve got to believe that they won’t win because their case was really bad. Even the experts they brought in to testify have found that there’s not that much disparity in terms of teaching quality between lower income and higher income schools, and because the statutes in question apply equivalently to low income and high income schools, it would be really hard to prove that they affect lower income and minority students differently than they do higher income students. I think that large part of the plaintiffs’ intention had less to do with winning than with waging a PR campaign against organized labor. The people who are driving this are generally wealthy interests that really dislike the concept that there are due process protections for any workers, not just teachers. They want all employment to be at will and they don’t want a collective voice.  Continue reading →