Archives › 2012 › December

Links to the rest of this series here My ‘open letter’ series culminates with this letter to the founder of Teach For America, Wendy Kopp.  I suppose that I’ve ‘known’ Wendy for twenty-one years as I first spoke to her at my own institute back in 1991.  I can’t say, though, that I know her…

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Dec 29 2012

The Silence Of The (Sacrificial) Lambs

Of the nearly 6,000 new TFA corps members who have just completed half of their first year of teaching, very few have posted on teachforus about how their first years are going.  I think I’ve seen about five or six midyear reflections so far.  As they say in old western movies, “It’s quiet out there.” …

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Links to the rest of this series here I first met Michelle Rhee, the reformer’s reformer, back in the summer of 1996.  At the time I was working for the TFA summer institute in Houston.  Though I was one year ‘ahead’ of her (I was a 1991 corps member and she was a 1992 corps…

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Links to the rest of this series here Tennessee is one of the reformer hotspots.  The commissioner of Education there is a TFA alum, and Michelle Rhee’s ex-husband Kevin Huffman.  I know him a bit, too, but my letter will instead go to Chris Barbic.  Chris is currently the superintendent of something called ‘The Achievement…

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Links to the rest of this series here Here is a response from Michael Johnston (I told you that I know these people!), the first response I’ve gotten from my open letters.  You can read my letter to him here. ************************************************************************************************** Gary Thanks for your thoughtful letter and invitation to respond. I also consider you…

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Links to the rest of this series here Though I’ve complained for a few years that TFA alumni get more respect than they deserve, I’m also very aware that as an alum, myself, I too have benefited from my pedigree.  This is how I’ve come to know so many reformers.  Two summers ago, before I…

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Dec 13 2012

Wendy Fails ‘The Giggle Test’

‘The Giggle Test’ is an expression coined in the late 1980′s.  As a lawyer contemplates whether or not to make a legal argument, he should avoid any argument that he won’t be able to make without immediately giggling afterwards.  A completely ridiculous argument, thus, ‘fails the giggle test.’ Teach For America was never intended to…

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Links to the rest of this series here In the summer of 2001 I found, on the TFA website, a summer job description for something called ‘The New York City Teaching Fellows.’  It was a branch of something called ‘The New Teacher Project’ which was being run in D.C. by Michelle Rhee, who I had…

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Links to the rest of this series here In the early days of TFA, when the size of the corps each year was fewer than 1000, it was a pretty small world.  Unlike now where 6,000 new TFAers attend about twelve different institutes, back in the early and mid-90s, there was just one institute, and…

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My father, the occasionally high profile defense attorney Ronald Rubinstein, graduated from Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn in 1956.  Fifty years later, the NYC DOE began the process of phasing out the school and replacing it with three small school on what is now the Tilden Educational campus. The NYC DOE recently released…

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By a somewhat frustrated 1991 alum


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