The Privatization of Special Education

Like so much else in education and beyond, we are seeing the familiar pattern of defunding, claiming crisis, and then calling for privatization in special education. This past week in Chicago, our unelected Board of Education recently voted to expand contracts with private, for-profit organizations to meet the growing needs of our children with special needs as […]

Ignoring Mental Health in the Grit Debate

This week, NPR has (once again) jumped onto the “gritty” bandwagon by playing a number of pieces related to the corporate education reform favorite of “grit.”  On my way to work one morning, I heard an NPR reporter share in a perky voice, “Experts define grit as persistence, determination and resilience; it’s that je ne sais […]

Teach For America and The Nonprofit Industrial Complex

As the controversy around Teach For America grows, it is incredibly important to understand the role of venture philanthropy in education reform.  This video provides powerful context in regards to how many nonprofits are used to maintain and exacerbate the injustices and inequalities in our world.   Perhaps one of the most ad vanced mechanisms […]

You don’t know the meaning of #dontbackdown


I’m pretty angry.  Yesterday, I was on a panel discussing Teach For America with, among others, Josh Anderson- head of TFA Chicago.  Overall, I thought the panel went well.  Debate was passionate (mostly on my part) but civil.  Still, at the very end, when Josh gave the final remarks of the event, he said something […]

Why Teach For America Cannot Change


This past Monday, the group Students United for Public Education (aka SUPE)–led by two amazing college students, Stephanie Rivera and Hannah Nguyen–organized a highly successful twitter storm using the hashtag #ResistTFA.  For a few hours, #ResistTFA became one of the top trending hashtags in the nation. Now, TFA’s response to the outpouring of rage at Teach […]

Teach for America and Noble St Charter Schools: A Dangerous Combination

Recently,  the director of Teach for America Chicago, Josh Anderson, wrote a response to the excellent exposé Edushyster posted regarding TFA Chicago’s role in charter school expansion.  Edushyster’s–or should I proudly say Jennifer C. Berkshire‘s–piece was entitled “Is TFA Undermining the Chicago Public Schools.” (The answer is “yes,” if you were wondering…) And she writes: When news […]

A Snarky Letter for A Heartless Leader: My Response to TFA Chicago’s Josh Anderson

Dear Josh Anderson, Executive Director of Teach for America Chicago, After reading your piece entitled Q&A with Josh Anderson, TFA Chicago on the Teacher Layoffs, I felt the need to reach out to you.  Perhaps you’ve never actually been inside a CPS school because you seem to not understand the very basic realities of this […]

Why My Students Do Not Need Teach for America

Wow, there has been such a flurry of stories and discussions in regards to Teach for America and its destructive role in education today.  I suppose my letter to new recruits played an important part in calling into question this organization, striking a chord of truth.  TFA has gone into full-time PR mode with a […]

An Open Letter to New Teach for America Recruits

Teach for America T-shirt

Dear New TFA Recruits, It is summertime, which for those of you newly accepted into Teach for America, means you are enduring the long hard days of Institute.  I congratulate you on being accepted into this prestigious program.  You clearly have demonstrated intelligence, passion, and leadership in order to make it this far. And now […]

Teach for America Has Gone Too Far

It is not a secret that I am no fan of Teach for America.  The very idea of the organization I find absolutely baffling.  (Let’s cure educational inequality by exacerbating the inequality of placing poorly trained, inexperienced teachers in our neediest classrooms?  Huh?) But TFA’s recent actions have sent me over the edge.  Last night, on twitter, I was […]

The Lowest Expectation of Them All

Corporate education reformers love to rave about how schools that “beat the odds” are full of teachers with “high expectations”.  There are echoes of George W’s “soft bigotry of low expectations” in this mantra implying that in the past, teachers–stifled no doubt by those innovation-hating unions–all had “low expectations” for their students and somehow THAT is why students […]

A Shout-Out to Education Activists

A Shout-Out to Education Activists

There are times when I feel overwhelmed by my good fortune to know so many powerful parent, teacher, student, and community activists across the country and the globe.  We have come together through the fight against corporate education reform and the call for education justice, equity, and democratically-run schools.  I feel lucky to have met so many amazing […]

Why Can’t I Opt Out of the GREs?

Why Can't I Opt Out of the GREs?

Cross-blogged at I have dropped off the face of the blogging world.  The reason is two-fold.  First, life at the psychiatric hospital where I work has become unbearable.  From where I stand, there is a mental health crisis happening in this city which is being exacerbated by the continued cuts and privatization of mental […]

Paul Tough Is Way Off-Base. And Stop Saying “Grit”.

Paul Tough Is Way Off-Base. And Stop Saying "Grit".

Over the past few weeks author and journalist Paul Tough and his new book How Children Succeed:  Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character have been making a splash in the world of education reform.  The book has been highlighted in the New York Times, on NPR, and on various other news outlets. And […]


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