Jose Luis Vilson’s Teacher’s Voice

Teacher Voice Perhaps the most original of Jose Vilson’s themes is his poetic and thoughtful discussion of the teacher’s voice. Of course, we teachers must all have our own voice, but we also share a means of communicating in a common manner, and it should also inform policy discussions. The first two posts on This […]

Fact and Logic Checking Joel Klein’s Lessons of Hope

This is the first of two posts fact checking Joel Klein’s Lessons of Hope. The first will focus on clearcut misrepresentations of the truth. A second will focus on his overall spin. Klein proclaims the increase in test scores from 2002 to 2010 on the reliable NAEP federal test as evidence that his expensive and […]

Wrapping Up Anthony Cody’s Analysis of the Gates Foundation’s Reform Failure

A common theme runs throughout Anthony Cody’s The Educator and the Oligarch. The Gates Foundation has treated teachers and students as lab rats. Their risky experiments have failed. But, the corporate reformers who remain so committed to holding educators accountable, measuring up to their metrics, refuse to face objective facts and hold themselves accountable. The […]

Anthony Cody Documents the Most Frightening Reform Threats

Rarely does a blogger get an opportunity to edit his editor, but since I’m reviewing Anthony Cody’s The Educator and the Oligarch, I’ll make this suggestion. I wish he’d moved Chapter 21 to Chapter 17. Had he done so, even Bill Gates would have a hard time denying the truth of his warnings about the […]

The Educator and the Oligarch’s Spin, Post # 2

Anthony Cody begins The Educator and the Oligarch with the words of the Gates Foundation’s Irvin Scott that could have come from Joseph Heller’s Catch 22: “We’re trying to start a movement. A movement started by you.” Ok, Scott might have misspoke, and his boss may have also done so in 2008 when saying, “There’s […]

Jose Luis Vilson’s Wisdom

In Part Two of This is Not a Test, Jose Luis Vilson asks a fundamental question, “even if you’ve never lived these students lives, how can you not find yourself drawn to the personal stories, their emotions, and their struggles to find their identities in a world that steadily widens every time we teach them […]

Anthony Cody Documents the Most Dangerous Threat to Teachers

One of the most frightening scenarios in Anthony Cody’s The Educator and the Oligarch is “Dystopia: A Possible Future of Teacher Evaluation.” Just because Cody’s horror story once might have been on track to becoming reality by 2018, that does not mean it could happen to all teachers and students by that time. I doubt […]

Anthony Cody’s The Educator and the Oligarch: Part I, Sweeping the Series when Debating the Gates Foundation

I should start my review of Anthony Cody’s The Educator and the Oligarch by acknowledging that I blog for Anthony and we’ve had many, often extended, editorial discussions. There has been a clear pattern with our discussions/debates. My first thoughts on corporate reform have been consistently more moderate than Anthony’s. When we’ve disagreed, Anthony has […]

Jose Luis Vilson’s Astute “This Is Not a Test”

Maybe it takes a poet to nail the single worst legacy of data-driven education reform (which was supposed to be the civil rights movement of the 21st century.) Jose Luis Vilson begins his outstanding This is Not a Test: By teaching students of color that the best way to succeed is to respond to tests […]

Misrepresenting the Power of of Teachers’ Expectations to Defeat Teachers

For nearly twenty years, school reformers have cited the Pygmalion Effect to argue that teachers are to blame for a large part of the achievement gap, because they have “low expectations.” In the 1990s, their soundbite was a part of a Sister Soldja campaign to beat up on teachers just enough to get test-driven accountability enacted, but it […]

Jesse Rothstein’s Refutation of Chetty et. al’s Longterm Impacts of Teachers

Lacking the expertise to critique the specifics of the methodology of “The Long-Term Impacts of Teachers” by Raj Chetty, John Friedman, and Jonah Rockoff, I have focused on becoming a good consumer of their study’s findings. I could not test the validity of their specific regression methods, but repeated rereadings and diverse email communications allowed […]

Before Michelle Rhee and Campbell Brown, There was “Why Teachers Can’t Teach”

Dana Goldstein’s The Teacher Wars recalls numerous great stories that illustrate how and why teachers became America’s “most embattled profession.” She reminds us that before Campbell Brown and Michelle Rhee, educators endured the wrath of the Texas Monthly’s Gene Lyons. After finishing Goldstein’s masterpiece, readers should google Lyons’ 1979 tirade, “Why Teachers Can’t Teach.” Lyons […]

Dana Goldstein’s The Teacher Wars Explains How Education Became So Embattled

Every generation must rewrite history from its own perspective. It has been a joy to look at the history of recurring education battles from the perspective of Dana Goldstein, and her The Teacher Wars, as well as Elizabeth Green’s Building a Better Teacher. I’ve have long blamed Reaganism and Supply Side Economics for much of […]

Dana Goldstein and New Insights into Why Teachers Are Targeted

Before reading Dana Goldstein’s The Teacher Wars, I mostly believed that it was bad luck that turned teaching into America’s “most embattled profession.” Primarily, teachers were in the wrong place at the wrong time when a self-righteous movement of inexperienced neo-liberals chose us as their enemy. I still believe that the best explanation of how […]

Are We Ready To Move Beyond Our Reform Wars?

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, the ability to hold opposing opinions in mind is a sign of intelligence. Similarly, we should welcome Patrick Riccards’ call for dialogue, as we also explain why efforts to bridge differences must be pursued as teachers step up our counter-attack against corporate reform. Riccards calls for a practitioner advisory board. […]


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