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Feb 28 2013

Unions and charters are strange bedfellows

When you ask the leader of an allegedly high performing charter school what makes them so successful, they generally say that they have more flexibility with hiring and firing since they are free from pesky union contracts.  This is why I found it quite odd that I received an announcement with job openings at a…

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Feb 27 2013

Self-Contained Urban Boredom Apparatus

In November I visited the KIPP High School in New York City and summarized some of what I saw in a blog post.  I’ve decided to write more about what I saw there in a series of shorter blog posts.  In this one, I will describe what I saw in their special education classes. KIPP…

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Feb 27 2013

A Tale of Two Open Letters

Wendy Kopp announced that she is stepping down as CEO of Teach For America, and around that time on The Huffington Post, a TFA alum named Kate Casas wrote an open letter to Wendy.  This letter was in stark contrast to the one I wrote which I was pretty proud of and which actually got…

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Feb 23 2013

Overheard at KIPP

In November I visited the KIPP high school in New York City and wrote about it.  Trying to be diplomatic and maybe even be invited to come back some time, I left out some things that I wanted to write about.  More recently, I reached out to the two founders of KIPP in one of…

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I visited KIPP High School in New York City a few months ago and wrote about it.  My post was pretty generous — perhaps too generous — so I’m going to write more about what I saw there in a few small posts. In my last post I put a picture I took of the…

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Feb 19 2013

Intercepted cryptic secret message to reformers

Though there was a recent article by Mike Petrilli about how people on Twitter generally only ‘follow’ people who they agree with, I try to follow a few ‘reformers’ to stay on top of what is going on.  So I follow Michelle Rhee, StudentsFirst, John White, and others.  I’ve only been blocked once, to my…

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Feb 19 2013

The $400 senior dues bargain at KIPP High School

A few months ago I visited the New York City KIPP High School and wrote a post about it.  That post was called ‘fair’ and ‘balanced’ by a lot of people on Twitter, which I’m happy about because it took a lot of restraint to write it that way.  As they were very gracious over…

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Feb 19 2013

Et tu, Rube?

On a post I wrote last week called ‘The Status Quo Miracle District,” I got a bunch of angry comments from people who seemed to feel betrayed by my ‘debunking’ of the media inflated claims of a ‘public’ school district. This is the first comment: Very unhelpful. With friends like you, public education needs no…

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Feb 14 2013

You might be a reformer if …

It has been a while since I caught up on some TFA ‘Pass The Chalk’ blog entries.  I read two interesting ones, one just published, and one published a few months ago that I must have missed. In “Who are the ‘So-Called Reformers’” staffer Heather Harding writes about how it is too bad that people…

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Feb 13 2013

The Status Quo Miracle District

Over the past two years I’ve spent a lot of time debunking ‘miracle’ schools and ‘miracle’ districts.  The way it works is that some politician or journalist tells a story about how this school or district has come up with a way to get their high poverty students to score as well in standardized tests…

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Feb 03 2013

The Eagle Has Landed

On October 15th, 2012 Bill and Melinda Gates visited Eagle Valley High School in the Eagle County school district in Colorado. Eagle County, in which ski mecca Vail is located, is a demographically unusual place with almost exactly 50% white students and 50% Hispanic students. Many of the Hispanic students have parents who work in…

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Feb 01 2013

The open letters series and responses

I’ve posted a link here that will take you to all eight open letters and two (so far) responses: click here to see them

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By a somewhat frustrated 1991 alum

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