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With social media, I suppose I can say that I ‘know’ someone if we’ve sent tweets to each other over the years.  This is the case with Michael Petrilli.  He is executive vice president of The Fordham Institute, and, according to his bio on their site, he is “one of the nation’s most trusted education…

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A little over a year ago, I wrote a series of open letters to ‘reformers’ I’ve known throughout the years.  I was not surprised that the majority of them did not respond.  On average, they each are making over $350K a year in the ed ‘reform’ game, and I would expect that it would be…

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On February 12, 2013, founder and long time CEO of TFA, Wendy Kopp, stepped down.  Two new co-CEOs were appointed, Elisa Villanueva-Beard and Matt Kramer. Elisa was a 1998 corps member and Matt had never taught.  Both were working as very high administrative positions in TFA before this recent promotion. I was pretty surprised by…

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After two days of pursuit, I finally found him.  I had never visited anyone in jail before – had never known anyone in jail before.  Most of the people that waited on the visitor’s line with me appeared to be family.  Many were children.  The children didn’t seem to grasp where they were.  Maybe they…

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Links to the rest of this series here Though she was the last one to receive an open letter from me, Wendy Kopp is the second person to respond.  I’ll probably make some comments about the letter in the ‘comments’ section later on, but for now I want to give her the full forum.  You…

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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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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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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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Links to the rest of this series here In part one I wrote to Whitney Tilson who is the ‘reformer’ I have known for the least amount of time (less than 2 years and never in person).  For part two I am writing to the reformers who I’ve known for the longest, over twenty years.…

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Links to the rest of this series here I think what gives me that extra motivation to participate, as much as I’m able to, in this current debate on how to improve this country’s schools (and yes, I do think they need to be improved) is the fact that I know, personally, many of the…

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By a somewhat frustrated 1991 alum


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