EduShyster is upset. She doesn’t understand why our nation’s leaders have embraced the idea that “success=compliance.”
She is concerned that white philanthropists and white teachers are imposing strict discipline on black and brown children.
This phenomenon is known as “no excuses.”
As she mentions, the origin of “No Excuses” may be traced to a book of that name by Samuel Casey Carter, written in 2000 about 21 “high-performing, high-poverty schools” and released by the far-right Heritage Foundation. The idea behind the book was that we didn’t need to spend any more money to fix schools, we just had to make sure that the schools were tough in their discipline and indulged in no pedagogical nonsense.
Some day, an enterprising researcher or journalist will check to see where those “no excuses” schools are today. One of them, P.S. 161 in Brooklyn, was on the Mayor’s list of schools-he-wants-to-close. Another, the famous Bennett-Kew Elementary in the miracle district of Inglewood, California, was collapsing, along with the district, and on the verge of a state takeover (when last I read about its travails). Why? Because so many charter schools had opened in the Inglewood “miracle district” that the district had to lay off teachers, custodians and other staff, had increased class sizes to 40 or more, and was about to fall into bankruptcy.
Then came the Thernstroms’ book of the same title.
And then came David Whitman’s Sweating the Small Stuff, which lavished praise on “no excuses” schools that practice “the new paternalism.” It was published by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Whitman is (or was) Arne Duncan’s speech writer.