Archives for category: Accountability

In an article on the Edweek blog, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Cory Booker, and Senator Chris Murphy reiterated their support for the George W. Bush approach to accountability. Arne Duncan and John King agree. despite 15 years of failed federal test-and-punish accountability, they want more. They are described as “accountability hawks.”

Alyson Klein writes:

“As congressional aides work feverishly behind the scenes, accountability hawks are making their case: Thursday a trio of Democratic senators—Cory Booker of New Jersey, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts—who have been leading the charge on accountability throughout the reauthorization process—plus U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and incoming Essentially Secretary John King had a big event on Capitol Hill today to shine a spotlight on the issue.

“Their essential argument: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, signed fifty years ago, is a civil rights law at heart, and this latest version has to continue that tradition. They say the new law must call for states to help schools with perennially low-student achievement, low graduation rates, and big achievement gaps.

“There has to be accountability back up the chain,” Warren said. “The idea that we would pass a major piece of legislation about education and just shove it to the states and say ‘Do what you want.’ … I think it’s appalling.” (My guess is states would take issue with that.)

Their big fear is that the federal government will stop punishing schools with low test scores and low graduation rates. Over the past 15 years of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, thousands of public schools have been shut down; the overwhelming majority of these schools are in impoverished and racially segregated communities.

How does it help students to close their schools? They need extra resources, smaller classes, experienced teachers, health clinics, tutoring, and other supports, not federal threats, sanctions, or privatization.

The pressure that the accountability hawks demand actually hurt the educational opportunities of low-income and high-needs students. Not only are they threatened with turmoil and instability, but their schools narrow the curriculum to what is tested. They lose out on the arts, sciences, field trips, group projects, history, even recess.

If Senators Warren, Booker, and Murphy really wanted to help the children most at risk, they would make sure their schools have the resources they need; they would take action against school segregation; and they would support job-creating programs (like investing in infrastructure) to help improve their families’ income.

NCLB and RTTT–the twin pillars of privatization–have failed.

It is time for federal policy that helps children and their families and that strengthens public education.

If the Senators really want accountability, they should recognize that it starts at the top–with Congress and the administration, with Governors and legislators–not at the bottom. Threats and rewards don’t improve education. Collaboration works, not competition and sticks.

Andrea Gabor, the Michael R. Bloomberg Professor of Business Journalism at Baruch College, read Gary Rubinstein’s analysis of the so-so performance of charter schools in New York City and wrote this post about it.

About that stellar performance turned in by Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy charters, Gabor pointed out that Eva’s schools are known for cherry picking their students:

In this post, I showed how Success Academy schools cherry picks students who are less needy economically and have far fewer special needs students and English Language Learners than nearby public schools.

And she noticed something else: there are public schools that outperform the Success Academy schools, with the same demographics.

But, I also noticed that in Rubinstein’s graph, at least five public schools with comparable economic-need statistics performed as well, if not better, than the Success Academy schools. Several more performed nearly as well, with much higher levels of economic need.

A recent post by charter advocate Richard Whitmire is stunningly in sync with Rubinstein’s analysis. Whitmire concedes that of 6,440 charter schools, only 1,200 hundred are living up to their promise of outperforming public schools–i.e. less than 20 percent. Whitmire’s suggestion is to close 1,000 charter schools immediately. I guess its easy to experiment with other people’s children…

Given the decidedly unmiraculous performance of charter schools overall, and the high performance of many outlier public schools, wouldn’t it be more prudent to focus on learning from the outliers–both publics and a small number of experimental charters–how to improve public schools, rather than jettisoning the public system for a decidedly iffy alternative?

After a year or more of wrangling, the Ohio legislature finally approved a bill to reform their scandal-ridden charter schools.

The bill passed with bipartisan support. Even charter school critics endorsed the changes.

The report in says:

As we reported yesterday, the bill makes several small changes that, as a whole, will tighten operations of the $1 billion charter school industry that lags behind traditional public schools and is the subject of national ridicule, even from charter school advocates.

Among items adjusted or added to the final version on Tuesday are a “White Hat rule” that prevents private charter operators from keeping equipment bought with state tax money; a cautious approach to study, not adopt, a new way of rating schools; and modest adjustments to how ratings of charter school oversight agencies are calculated.

Still intact, with only minor adjustments, are changes designed to distance the often-cozy relationships between for-profit charter school operating companies and the school boards that govern the schools.

Charter supporters realized that the outrageous profiteering of a few well-connected charter founders had created a massive embarrassment for all the charters. In addition, charters are among the lowest performing schools in the state.

The Fordham Institute was a major player in developing the law, partly through its sponsorship of two studies that informed the debate — analysis of the academic performance of Ohio charter schools by Stanford’s Center for Research of Education Outcomes (CREDO) and a separate study by Bellwether Education Partners of what gaps Ohio had in its charter laws and support system.

Jersey Jazzman has dubbed John King, our new Secretary of Education, “the King of Suspensions.”

John King shaped the disciplinary policies at Roxbury Prep in Boston. It has the second highest suspension rate in the state of Massachusetts.

“This isn’t at all a surprise; as the Boston Globe reported in 2014, Roxbury Prep had previously held the top spot with a suspension rate in 2012-13 of nearly 60 percent.

“Later on, Roxbury moved under the umbrella of Uncommon Schools, a charter management organization with schools in New York and New Jersey as well as Massachusetts. John King, consequently, rose to become Managing Director for the entire Uncommon chain. Soon, the high suspension rates that were a hallmark of Roxbury Prep became common in all of Uncommon’s schools…..

“Uncommon Schools, the charter chain John King used to manage, has some of the highest student suspension rates compared to its neighboring schools in three different states.

“High suspension rates are not good for students. You know who says so? The very USDOE John King is now going to lead.”

JJ quotes at length from USDOE policy statements explaining why suspension is harmful to students.

The USDOE is opposed to suspensions.

JJ says, too bad there will be no hearings on King’s appointment because it would be interesting to learn whether King agrees with department policy on suspensions.

Paul Horton, history teacher at the University of Chicago Lab School, has written a powerful essay explaining why the free-market is an inappropriate model for school reform.

He writes about the history of “neoliberalism” and the free market reforms it encouraged:

Though the newly formed Carter administration’s Department of Education refused to grant federal money to parochial schools because it feared that vouchers would only further encourage rapid white flight from desegregating public schools, especially in the South, the nascent religious right began to organize around the issue of vouchers. Richard Viguerie famously energized the Moral Majority around such related wedge issues desegregation, vouchers for religious schools, and “family values.”

Not surprisingly, market ideas about education were embraced by a Reagan administration that rode the wave of the “Moral Majority” and “the southern strategy” pioneered by George Wallace and Richard Nixon to victory in 1980. Initially supporting a policy of education decentralization and local control, the Reagan Education Department shifted to supporting standardized testing following the publication of the 1983 Nation at Risk report that portrayed public education in the United States as rapidly deteriorating.

In fact, however, the 70s push to integrate schools had resulted in the highest gains to date achieved in closing the achievement gap between African American and Latinos and whites. But the Nation at Risk report focused on declining ACT and SAT test scores and the threat to economic development and national security that would result from a decline of American education. Corporate and Reagan administration leaders like William Bennett sought to use the Nation at Risk report to push a Sputnik like response in a national education program that emphasized national standardized curricula and tests, vouchers, and merit pay.

Clearly, the Reagan administration proposed Friedmanesque market solutions in legislation, but congress did not buy in. But Reagan’s second Secretary of Education, Bennett, created the model for Federal education policy that is pretty much followed today by the Obama administration: Federally supported standardized testing, support for charter schools, data driven teacher assessments, and merit pay. Under George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act these ideas were institutionalized and supported famously by a coalition of liberals led by senator Edward Kennedy and Republican senators and governors who demanded an end to the “liberal racism” of low expectations.

President Obama has embraced all of these ideas and added his support with Secretary Duncan’s “Race to the Top” that also incentivizes state support for charter schools and state adoption of the Common Core Curriculum that attempts to build a foundation for linguistic and mathematical literacy. (Valerie Strauss, “Ronald Reagan’s Impact on Education Today,” Washington Post, 2-6-11) Obama, however, has stopped short of endorsing vouchers even though vouchers would accelerate the growth of charter schools.

Horton points out that the major mainstream media has swallowed the free-market reforms: The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal. Anything called “reform,” no matter how noxious, is supported by them.

Furthermore, financiers have become enthusiastic supporters of the profit making possibilities of privatization:

Here in Chicago, for example, President Obama’s best friend, Martin Nesbitt, has started a venture capital firm called the Vistria Group that promises to create portfolios for investment in charter schools. Not surprisingly, he and many of the members of Chicago’s Commercial Club (known to locals as the “billionaire’s club), including Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, and current Republican governor Bruce Rauner are very enthusiastic about charter school investment based only their experience in organizing and operating the Noble Charter chain. Another of Chicago’s wealthiest families, the Crowns, who own controlling interest in the Chicago Bulls and the Empire State Building, actively invest in charter school “portfolios.” (Google “Crown Foundation”).

In portfolio managed schools like the Noble Charter Schools, the emphasis in teaching and learning is on “practices and discourses of test preparation, including regular test practice, routinized and formulaic instruction, emphasis on discrete (tested) skills, substitution for test prep materials for regular texts, and differential attention to students based on their likelihood of passing high stakes tests,” according to sociologist Pauline Lipman in her book, The New Political Economy of Urban Education. (128)

My teacher informants who decided that they could no longer teach at the Noble Charter schools confirm the above description and insist, “the stress is on rote learning to increase scores and not on what could be called deeper levels of learning. The Noble Charters are not looking for creative teachers, they are looking for teachers who will simply read from a script.”

The rallying cry of the neoliberals is “choice” but for most parents, “choice” is not real. The schools choose, the parents don’t.

Why are the powerful so interested in promoting privatization?

The pressure to require choice that discourages meaningful political change is more often than not top down: reformers like Gates supply funds for astroturf organizing in favor of school choice and hedge fund managers fund “reform” front groups like Democrats for Education Reform and staff them with successful African American strivers who are true believers.

The prominence of education choice ideology is primarily the product of the demands made on politicians by the wealthy. A private equity manager told Chrystia Freedland, author of Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, about a heated exchange between a leading Democrat and a hedge fund manager: “Screw you,” he told the lawmaker. “Even if you change the legislation the government won’t get a single penny more from me in taxes. I’ll put my money in a foundation and spend it on good causes. My money isn’t going to be wasted in your deficit sinkhole.”

Foundations that funnel large sums of investment into promoting market “reforms” in education provide both a tax benefit to the wealthy and create emerging markets for investment in stocks that the wealthy are betting on.

Neoliberal education reform is thus pushed by the work of foundations that cater to the whims of millionaires and billionaires, and they are having their way. Many of the presidential appointees to Arne Duncan’s Department of Education were former employees of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, most prominently James Shelton III and Joanne Weiss. Large numbers of representatives from the Broad Foundation that trained Secretary Duncan as an administrator were present at meetings to determine how education policy could best benefit from the proposed American Recovery Act. Silicon Valley executives and Wall Street brokers who want a piece of the emerging privatized education market are gung-ho on heavy charter school and STEM programs for schools. And Pearson Education has done its best to corner every sector of the emerging education marketplace while managing to avoid having to write competitive impact statements when winking at a friendly Justice Department that has been told by Mr. Gates and Mr. Duncan that “scaling up” and standardizing will introduce more market efficiencies and will lead to the greater economic good, the Chicago Law and Economics mantra.

Horton cites several books that demonstrate the superiority of public schools over charter schools. But no one in the Obama administration is listening.

Sheryll Cashin, professor of law at Georgetown, in her well-reviewed recent book, Place not Race: A New Vision of Opportunity in America agrees, and argues that Obama education policy has “failed.” She insists that public and charter schools do not overcome the neighborhood effects that Milton Friedman said they would. “I call it undertow. A child surrounded by poverty is not exposed to other kids with big dreams and a realistic understanding of how working hard in school will translate into success years later.” (31)

A more recent longitudinal peer reviewed study supports Cashin’s point. Sponsored by the Russell Sage Foundation, The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth and the Transition to Adulthood, argues that resources in African American neighborhoods do not match resources available in blue collar white neighborhoods, especially when it comes to mentorship and networking that will match 14 and 15 year olds with job prospects. The authors of the Long Shadow Report argue that impoverished schools need more supports and that the country’s leaders need to restart a serious discussion about integration that goes beyond the selective enrollment and magnet school approaches. (

The fact that our political leaders refuse to promote policies that would integrate schools beyond race and class lines, or as Ms. Cashin says by “place not race,” is the most profound indictment of the market approach to education.

This critique is echoed by Economist Ha-Joon Chang of the University of Cambridge who argues that the pure market approach of neoliberals is shortsighted because “they use rules of thumb (heuristics) to focus on a small number of possible moves, in order to reduce the number of scenarios that need to be analysed, even though the excluded moves may have brought better results.” (23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism, 175)

Chang also has doubts about the idea that increasing test scores will lead to higher rates of productivity or more wealth for the United States, “Education is valuable, but the main value is not in raising productivity. It lies in its ability to help us develop our potentials and live a more fulfilling and independent life…the link between education and productivity is rather tenuous and complicated.” (189)

Horton adds that the privatizers refuse to admit that their ideas have failed. Instead, they step up their efforts to test more, privatize more, as we now see in frenzied efforts to copy New Orleans, Tennessee’s Achievement School District, and incessant testing. Market reform has failed, but its sponsors refuse to see the results of their policies.

The biggest problem with the education privatizers is that they have no sense of limits. They have invested a great deal of capital in ideas that do not work as well as they had hoped. They do not want to think that they are throwing good money after negative results, so they are manipulating the levers of power and the national press to create the impression that their efforts still have potential.

The big question at this juncture somewhat desperately becomes, when will they simply accept their losses? As usual, philosopher and poet Wendell Berry offers us sage advice on the issue of education privatization or anything else:

“The danger of the ideal of competition is that it neither proposes nor implies any limits. It proposes simply to lower costs at any cost, and to raise profits at any cost. It does not hesitate at the destruction of the life of a family or the life of a community. It pits neighbor against neighbor as readily as it pits buyer against seller. Every transaction is meant to involve a winner or a loser. And for this reason the human economy is pitted without limit against nature. For in the unlimited competition of neighbor and neighbor, buyer and seller, all available means must be used; none may be spared.” (What are People For?, 131)”

Opting out of standardized testing for many thus is a very “rational choice” to combat the irrationality of the market “reform” of education in the United States. Opting out of irrational, profit-driven “education reform” is rather simply a measure of the persistence of sanity within a society that instinctively resists the slimy tentacles of plutocracy.

Last week, I posted about a conference sponsored by the pro-voucher American Federation for Children, celebrating the destruction of public education in New Orleans. The participants seemed gleeful. One speaker spoke of bankruptcy as a wonderful opportunity to eliminate public education and start over.

Peter Greene decided that it was his civic duty to listen to the entire panel discussion, and he shares his impressions here.

Greene tries to understand the spirit of jollity in the discussion:

The actual title of the panel is “Knocking Out Yesterday’s Education Models,” though Persson reports that Bradford makes a joke about the working title being “What Happens After You Blow It All Up.” If you watch it, I will warn you that the most disconcerting thing about the whole discussion is the jaunty, breezy, jolly, jokey tone of the whole business. As a teacher, it is beyond disconcerting about watching people discuss blowing up the work that you’ve devoted your life to while they laugh and smile and yuk it up like the whole destruction of traditional public education is hilarious….

Greene summarizes the presentations of each of the speakers. Here are a couple of examples:

Katie Beck

COO of 4.0 Schools, Beck has a Teach for America pedigree, and went through the Harvard College. She gets “how do you turn education into a more entrepreneurial space” as a question, so I guess we’re skipping over “why the hell would you want to do that?”

Her outfit likes to work with people who are “obsessed” with a problem and who want to make money from the solution. Okay, I’m paraphrasing, but I’m not loving her message, and she does that thing where every sentence ends like a question? Anyway, her term for institutional isomorphism is “the hairball” because, you know, traditional public school is just a disgusting mess. So, for instance, instead of starting with a charter that will spend $2 million and look like “an iteration of” existing schools, they help little boutique start-ups. Because anything that looks like the old way is obviously bad. I had the hardest time wading through Beck, who is so clearly focused on developing business without much interest in the education side of things. All of her ideas deal with the best way to get a business started up, with no concern expressed for the students who become the guinea pigs for these start-ups.

Bradford asks if for-profit people are any different to work with that the other altruistic folks. But she doesn’t work with “bad actors” who are in it to make a buck. And being for-profit helps those people keep themselves honest because when you’re obsessed with solving a problem, you have to ask “is this solving it enough that someone’s willing to pay for it.” Which I wouldn’t call “keeping honest” so much as “missing the entire point of running a school.”

Rebecca Sibilia

So here comes the lady who’s quote got us interested in this panel in the first place. If we want all of her comments will it, as she suggests, make her sound better. Well, no. The whole thing is even worse than the quoted portion, which tells us a little something about how she sees herself.

Bradford asks her how we pay for all this innovation. And she opens with, “The problem is, we can’t.” Which is a remarkably honest answer [insert my usual complaint about trying to run charter systems without being honest about the true cost.] She will now break down the three problems that EdBuild is trying to solve.

First, the way that we’re funding schools is “largely arbitrary” and “doesn’t make any sense.” And Sibilia seems far too smart to believe that baloney, but just in case, here goes: People set up schools in their community, for the students who live in their community, so they funded them by collecting money from everyone who lives in the community. Later on, state governments got involved in trying to even out the differences in funding inherent in a local-based system. There are lots of things to hate about how this is all playing out, but it’s silly to pretend that the system just fell from the sky for no reason at all. Her criticism about uneven funding outcomes seems to be that by favoring one district over another financially, you’re creating an artificial market bias. One might complain that some students are getting fewer resources than they deserve, but that doesn’t seem to be her concern. It;s the savage and unwarranted abuse of the free market that’s the issue.

Second, she doesn’t like the borders that are created by property taxes, which seems exactly backwards. Municipal borders exist, and folks who live within them are taxed. Not the other way around. She thinks this leads to a mistake– trying to get resources into those borders instead of “focusing on how we can break those borders” which is a less objectionable way to say “how we can get some students out.” Because “breaking the borders” instead of “getting resources into the borders” has to mean that we are going to just let some areas collapse in unmitigated poverty. Which, as we’ll see, is exactly her plan.

See, many states fund schools with property taxes, and in many states property taxes can’t go to schools of choice. “We’ve had charter schools for a quarter of a century, but we’re still treating them like an experiment. And so that’s a problem and we have to fix it.”

So, there is a ton of Wrong packed into that. First of all, the modern corporate charters these guys are talking about haven’t been around for twenty-five years. Second, they are experiments, and not very successful ones, at that, having not yet figured out how to stop some charters from being Ohio-style nests of incompetence and corruption. Third, charters have used their fledgling nature as part of their excuse to avoid the same oversight and accountability that public schools enjoy. Every time a charter wants to set up a new rule for itself, its argument is, “We’re a charter. We should be free to experiment and Try Stuff.”

Sibilia’s argument is that charters should get lots of sweet, sweet public tax money. Neither she nor other charter advocates make a convincing case for that.

But she’s going on about the evils of property taxes being linked to public schools, and she and Bradford share a laugh at how it’s still called millage, which apparently proves that it’s just so antiquated and uncool. Har. And she goes on to try to make a point that funding is based on the teacher, and not the student and their needs, but somehow property tax locks this in, and so places where the charters are getting a new teacher corps (young? cheap? unprofessional? she doesn’t explain the critical differences) are locked in. But until we can bust up the whole funding system (she also does not say what she wants to replace it with), none of the cool reforms being discussed here will be sustainable. And that much is probably true.

Bradford sets up her next bit by observing that some school districts are in trouble and he would argue most can’t afford to stay open, and that would be awesome, and I say, you know what would help with that? What would help is to stop allowing charters to suck the blood out of the public system. And all that brings us to the quote that has circulated, where she envisions bankruptcy as a great way to blow up a district, specifically getting rid of all its “legacy debt” so that they no longer have to pay for like buildings and pensions, which is totally cool because having a school district go bankrupt is no problem for students, just the adults. Which is just– I mean, I imagine that students would notice that their district is collapsing financially and cutting programs and teachers and resources with a chainsaw. “Bankruptcy is not a problem for kids,” is a statement that in the best of contexts is still grossly tone-deaf and reality-impaired. In the context of Sibilia’s discussion of how to blow up public schools so we can has charters, it’s even more tone-deaf and reality-impaired.

And while the tone of the whole panel is, as I said, disturbingly light and happy, Sibilia is just so thoroughly gleeful about the prospect of districts becoming bankrupt, their pensions zeroed out and their teaching staff scrubbed. I have seen people less excited about getting engaged to the eprson of their dreams.

Greene discovers that the most thoughtful member of the panel is Andy Smarick, who has frequently spoken of the urban school district of the future as one that has no public education. But Smarick in this panel reflects on the danger of unintended consequences.

What he says is, yes, we’ve got an old hide-bound system, and we might want to blow it up and replace it, but when you do that you break a lot of systems and policies that are tied to it. “When you tug on that thread, you see a lot of the fabric start to warp. This is not to say we shouldn’t pull on that thread–”


There is a downside to all this that should not be ignored. And he brings up Chesterton’s fence. Which is an old British notion that you don’t take down a fence until you understand why it was put up in the first place.

‘So, some of the worst changes to the revolutionary evolutionary point are when we, with great hubris, with great certainty, look at something and we think is messy, untidy, inefficient, and we don’t see the wisdom, we don’t see the long-standing virtue, value, that is in it that has been tested over time, that has evolved, and we technocratically with great brilliance the best and brightest among us decide we’re going to change that thing.’

He tells a story about forest management and mistakes made in the name of commoditized lumber. Or knocking down swamps and then discovering we’d made a mess. Or the human social capital destroyed with high rise public housing. So, he says, as we tinker with all the pieces parts of schools, “let’s at least have a little humility and recognize that with that change comes a casualty.” And that those casualties often are the least advantaged.

So, first time I ever wanted to give a certified reformster a round of applause. And I’ll add that I’ve known actual conservatives my whole life, and as I have watched ed reform unfold, I don’t understand why more alleged conservatives do not share Smarick’s point of view.

A few years ago, I dared Andy Smarick to read James Scott’s “Seeing Like a State.” He got the point. It is about “the best and brightest” imposing their grand ideas on the little people–with disastrous results.

He is thinking. That is a good sign.

The Albany Times-Union published a letter written by corporate reformers who support Common Core, charter schools, and high-stakes testing.

The signatories applaud the idea of giving the Common Core standards a new name. That’ll mollify parents, for sure. Call them New York’s Very Own Unique Standards. Rebranding will fool almost everyone, on the assumption that the parents of the 220,000 children who opted out are dumb and won’t notice that New York’s Very Own Unique Standards are the Common Core! Apparently the trick worked in other states, so why shouldn’t it work in New York?

The shortening of the tests by 90 minutes is a step forward, but it does not really solve the problem of tests that currently are 8-11 hours long. Why should tests require 6.5 hours for an 8-year-old to see if they can read or do math? Even that is way too long.

The corporate reformers are certain that the Common Core standards (aka “New York’s Very Own Unique Standards”) offer a brighter future for the children of New York.

But they don’t explain how children who are English language learners will have a brighter future when 97% of them “failed” the Common Core tests for three years in a row.

How will students with disabilities have a brighter future when 95% of them “failed” the Common Core tests for three years in a row?

How will African-American and Hispanic children have a brighter future when more than 80% “failed” the Common Core tests for three years in a row?

Will they be promoted to the next grade even though they failed the CC test? Will they be allowed to graduate?

If they can’t be promoted, and they can’t graduate because the CC standards are developmentally inappropriate, and the tests have passing marks far above their capacity, why kind of future will they have?

It won’t be bright. What will they be able to do without a high school diploma?


Florida superintendents issued a statement saying that they have lost confidence in the state’s accountability system.

Read it here.

The Albert Shanker Institute studied teacher diversity in nine important cities: Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

What they learned was that the proportion of black teachers had declined, in some cities dramatically over the past decade.

All of these cities–to a greater or lesser degree–have been targets of corporate reform.

The black share of teachers’ positions declined by 1% in Boston’s charter sector, 24% in New Orleans, nearly 28% in Washington, D.C.

Is there a principle here? The more corporate reform, the fewer black teachers?

Michael Grunwald, who usually writes about politics, not education, has posted a mostly admiring profile of Arne Duncan.

Bottom line: He really cares!

What he leaves out: Arne’s persistent support for privatization of public education.

He does touch on the opposition to high-stakes testing, but skirts the hot-button issue of teacher evaluation by test scores.

But he does feel bad about the instability that has occurred in Chicago since he left.

And Undersecretary of Education Ted Mitchell cries when he talks about Arne. Michael Grunwald probably doesn’t know that Ted gave up a $750,000 a year job as CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund, the leading privatization organization in education, to join Arne.

As Grunwald says, you can’t understand Arne if you don’t understand basketball. I know a lot about education, but I don’t understand basketball. So that’s my problem.



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