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.
But where can we meet this fast-talking, quick-stepping lover of rigor and outstandingness? Reader: I invite you to accompany me on a quick trip to Massachusetts, USA, where the eduttantes are out in force, engaged in the annual ‘Liftin’ O the Cap’ dance. Newly fattened with an infusion of Walmart $$$ (signified with this helpful w), the good men—and they do seem to be mostly men—of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Associationw and the Pioneer Institutew are in full flight, finding new ways to remind us every day that in Massachusetts “chahter” rhymes with “smahter.”
The ‘e’ is for excellence
No schools inspire greater reverence among the eduttante set than the Edward Brooke chartersw, a rapidly expanding mini empire with lots of excellence, plenty of expectations and absolutely no excuses. In other words, it is just the sort of school where the eduttante would send his children were he to send his children to a militarized test prep academy where eye rolling and teeth sucking (teeth sucking???) will earn you an immediate community violation. But of course he never does. Barry Finegold, the Massachusetts State Senator who co-sponsored legislation that would raise the cap on the number of urban charters, is rumored to send his own children to the pricey, private and standardized-test free Pike School in Andover.
Fracking for excellence
The eduttante understands, however, that the fierce urgency of readying students for college readiness requires any means necessary. We might think of Brooke’s hyper-disciplinary culture and 25% suspension rate as the equivalent of “fracking”: unpleasant when viewed close up, but necessary to tap the layer of high test scores trapped within. In fact, eduttante Jim Stergios, chief of the libertarian Pioneer Institutew, ‘gets’ that libertarianism has no place in a world where excellence literally hangs in the balance. Along with plenty of test-prep, students at a Brookes school enjoy a heaping helping of what Andrew Hartman calls “the pedagogy of surveillance.” Personal liberty, whateva!
The above chart, by the way, comes from the Edward Brookes student handbook. Of its 80 pages, 3/4 are devoted to either test scores or disciplinary infractions and their consequences. As the eduttante knows, however, extreme measures and excellence go hand in hand. Brother Stergios: the eduttante’s balls are in your court—take it away!
— Jim Stergios (@JimStergios)February 16, 2013
Get out of the way indeed…
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