You Are Not the PROBLEM, I Am Not the PROBLEM; the PROBLEM Is the PROBLEM

At Bridging Differences, veteran educator Deborah Meier and reformer Mike Petrilli are debating who is the problem. And, that is a step up from their previous disagreement over who was a part of the disease. While I side with Meier, I would like to make a couple of suggestions for the further bridging of differences. […]

What If School “Reformers” Kept Up Their Best Behavior?

John Legend introduced PBS’s first education TED talk with the promise that it would not play the blame game. The great presentations that followed raise the question of what could be accomplished if we all obeyed that policy, stopped pointing fingers, and promoted “win win” methods of school improvement. This post will show that even […]

The Human Costs of School “Reform”

A study by Elaine Weiss and Don Long of the Bolder Broader Approach shows that the corporate school “reform” experiment has claimed to have raised student achievement but that those gains evaporate upon close examination. A previous post, “The Benefits (and Costs) of ‘Reform’ in Three Cities,” discussed their “Market-Oriented Education Reforms’ Rhetoric Trumps Reality,” […]

History Repeats Itself; First as David Hornbeck, then as “Michelle Rhee”

A couple of weeks ago, John Merrow revealed the “smoking gun” memo showing that Michelle Rhee was warned about the extent of possible cheating in the D.C. schools, and that made him a hero to many teachers.  Then, Merrow started a controversy by posting “Who Created ‘Michelle Rhee.’”  Merrow indicated that Rhee, some corporate reformers, […]

The Cruelty of the Annual Spring Testing Season

The spring standardized testing season has begun, and learning has stopped.  Or, should I say that learning the skills and knowledge necessary to become a healthy citizen has stopped? Students will continue to learn about the seamy side of adult politics until the testing ordeal peters out in May. Especially for many students in low-income […]

New Orleans Shows the Limitations of "No Excuses" Schools

The debate over “No Excuses” schools has focused on their attrition rate and their potential for being scaled up. Schools such as New Orleans Sci Academy have produced great college acceptance rates for students who are dedicated enough to meet their goal of “100% of cultural expectations 100% of the time.” It is too soon […]

Michelle Rhee’s Situational Ethics

The immediate takeaway of “Michelle Rhee’s Reign of Error” is that PBS’s John Merrow found “the smoking gun,” or the confidential memo warning Michelle Rhee of the extent of cheating that may have occurred in Washington D.C. schools in response to her draconian “reforms.” He concludes with the question that merits a real federal investigation, “What did Michelle […]

Conservative "Reformers" Oppose and then Support Standardized Testing

Chester Finn’s “Accountability Dilemmas,” in the Fordham Flypaper, seems to be an example of a conservative “reformer” acknowledging at least some of the failure of bubble-in “reform.” Finn recognizes that parents “fret” over the overemphasis on testing that “fosters dull, drill-centric classrooms.” Finn is open to some sort of testing hiatus as Common Core is introduced.  Turning down […]

"Reformers" Seek to Overturn California Education Laws Based Solely on Evidence-Free Beliefs, Part Two

As I explained last week, the “astroturf” school “reform” organization, Students Matter, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group want to strike down five education laws that supposedly “are destroying California’s public education system, demoralizing the teaching profession, and robbing California children of their future.” In Vergara v California, they claim “California’s Schools Hire And Retain […]

California "Reformers" Seek Judicial Over-Reach Based on No Evidence

Dave Welch, Chief Strategic Officer of Infinera. and the famed attorney Theodore B. Olson believe that five education laws “are destroying California’s public education system, demoralizing the teaching profession, and robbing California children of their future.” They believe they know how to rid the state of “stagnant, disinterested and uninspiring teachers.”  So, they have filed Vergara […]

Another "Reformer" Cherry-Picks Data

Not all reformers read a quantitative study that seems to confirm their opinions and then get rhapsodic in speculating about Mr. Keating, the teacher at the “tony prep school” portrayed in the classic film, Dead Poet’s Society.  But, Sarah Rosenberg’s “Oh Captain! My Captain!” illustrates the common pattern of wonks who cherry-pick studies in order […]

What Happens If the Billionaires Boys Club Takes Over Los Angeles Schools?

Educators have grown increasingly concerned that the “Billionaires Boys Club’s” plan for test-driven “reform” of schools is more than misguided. Basically, it advocates “disruptive innovation” to destroy the “status quo” and so that schools can overcome the legacies of poverty. So many of their theories are so silly that many teachers worry that their real […]

Why Can’t Corporate "Reformers" Get Their Spin Straight?

My first question was why Rick Hess took a sabbatical from his blog, Rick Hess Straight Up, and turned it over to someone who would promote the opposite of the “Billionaires Boys Club’s” vision of “reform.”  Guest blogger Becca Bracy Knight wrote that system leaders should take a “team of rivals” approach.  They should start […]

The Best Things about the Anti-Testing Backlash in Texas and Elsewhere

What is the greatest recent victory in the backlash against standardized testing that has terrified “reformers” as it has reached a “crescendo?” A)     The Garfield High School teachers’ boycott of the administration of standardized tests.B)      The 120 Massachusetts professors’ protest against standardized testing.C)      The Chicago, Georgia, and New York protests that inspired the Massachusetts stand.D)     […]

Why Would Teacher Satisfaction Be Falling?

It is hard to understand why teachers’ satisfaction has dropped to an all-time low during the Obama Administration.  Yes, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has doubled-down on the bubble-in madness of NCLB.  Duncan has pushed the agenda of the “Billionaires Boys Club” which threatens to kill the principle of public education.  The administration has dumped  […]

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