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 […]

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. […]

Lessons To Be Learned from Elizabeth Green’s Building a Better Teacher

Elizabeth Green’s Building a Better Teacher contributes explicitly and implicitly to two key school reform debates. Although I’m not fully convinced by her main argument, she makes a great case that we can build a better teacher. The implicit issue is whether a concerted effort to improve teacher quality could drive reforms in high-poverty schools […]

Elizabeth Green Asks Whether True Believers in “No Excuses” Can Learn

The first rule of teachers in schools that serve every child who walks through the door is “pick your battles.” A teacher’s key skill, we’re often told from day #1, is “learn what to ignore.”   A charter school teacher who does not understand the essential nature of such survival skills may claim to teach the “same […]

Elizabeth Green’s Building a Better Teacher, the Rabbi, and the Chicken

The first half of Elizabeth Green’s Building a Better Teacher recounts the rise and fall of modern academic teacher improvement efforts, as well as the way that Japanese elementary schools, at least, learned from this (seemingly) quintessential American movement. I am not qualified to comment on Green’s discussion of Japanese schools, but this is the […]


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