Won’t Give Up

The Philly Student Union has a message for the adult interests charged with running the city’s public schools…

won't back downWhen the Philadelphia School District decided to hold a *parent engagement* night featuring a showing of the charter happy, parent trigger flick Won’t Back Down,  members of the Philly Student Union showed up, sat down and Wouldn’t Get Up. I spoke with new member Ruby Anderson about the students’ vision for public education in Philadelphia and what she would say to reform advocates if given the chance.
Continue reading →

Best Practices Make Purrfect

Charter schools and kittens are both purrfect and have many best practices which they can be encouraged to share with the appropriate material incentives.

The subject of today’s EduShyster lesson is best practices. Which means that if you are a traditional, “low-expectations” teacher, this subject will hold no interest for you. (I happen to have it on excellent authority that your 600 page iron clad union contracts expressly ban best practices from school grounds). I invite you to check back in when we return to a more appropriate topic:  how to turn empty wine boxes into classroom holiday decorations. See you then!

Anyway, back to best practices. Did you ever read a story about a charter school that is 100 times more innovative and has like 1000 times more best practices than its sad failing public counterpart? Because EduShyster is among the handful of remaining people who still subscribe to the Boston Globe (I kick it old school), I have this experience almost everyday. Which gave me a brilliant idea: what if there were a way for charters to share some of their best practices with public schools? Now obviously they can’t possibly share all of them as that would take 862 years, and the for-profits are out because their best practices are—shhhhhhhhhh—proprietary. Continue reading →

Don’t Back Down

Recent weeks have been tough on our good friends at Education Reform, Inc. So EduShyster offers some valuable advice: don’t back down. Take off the leashes and the muzzles and let us know how you REALLY feel.

So you’ve had a tough couple of weeks. First there was the whole Chicago strike thing— which Jonah and Bruce assured us would NOT happen. And what was with all of the parents saying that they supported those lazy LIFO lifer teachers??? Don’t the parents get that YOU’RE the ones who care about the kids? I mean your ads and websites are filled with cute pictures of minority kids excelling and traversing the achievement gap. Does that not count for anything???? Continue reading →

Not Another Bad Teacher Movie

“Won’t Back Down” isn’t just another bad teacher movie. It’s a really BAD movie about “teachers.”

EduShyster is counting the days until this fall’s must-see bad teacher movie, “Won’t Back Down,” arrives at the local mega-plex. J’adore movies that are inspired by true events, like “Alien” or “I Married an Axe Murderer.” In fact, excitement is so high in the EduShyster camp that I’ve already begun assembling the props I’ll need for the midnight showing: a bushel of rotten apples to hurl at the screen every time a bad teacher appears, a stack of phone books to symbolize the innovation-stifling heft of the teacher union contract, petition forms to gather enough signatures for patrons to take over the theater if the popcorn is stale.

So far early reviews of  “Won’t Back Down” have given the film an A+++++++++++++++++++. Of course these reviews came from the special screening of the film at the Democratic National Convention, hosted by Democrats for Education Reform and Students First. But what about viewers who aren’t jacked up on #edreform juice or know anything about actual public schools? Continue reading →

The Next “Waiting for Superman”

The next “Waiting for Superman” is on its way to a theater near you–and it’s even phonier than the last.

Start with an issue near and dear to corporate reformers’ hearts, pump it up with plenty of right-wing cash, then add in a tear-jerking script guaranteed to stir mass outrage at the “entrenched bureaucracy” in our public schools. Sound familiar? After all, what would back-to-school-season be without a feel-bad film that has us up on our feet, mad as hell, demanding a corporate takeover of our public schools?

This fall’s “Waiting for Superman” is called “Won’t Back Down,” a full-on feature length film with an all star cast (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Holly Hunter and Viola Davis) about the corporate edu-crowd’s current fave reform “tool.” Any guesses as to what that would be? Bingo! It’s the “parent trigger,” a California law created by the billionaire-funded group Parent Revolution  that enables parents to hand over operation of a public school to an outside charter school operator. In the film, an outraged mother, played by Gyllenhaal, helps parents take over a struggling school where teachers have failed to teach her daughter to read, punched her and locked her in a closet. Hey wait just a second, that sounds like young EduShyster’s public school experience… Continue reading →