Curtain Raiser?

So everyone is chattering about the NYT Magazine piece on Race to the Top.   Usually the curtain goes up on the big stories later in the week but this will be old news by Sunday as the link was going around Monday…

One thing about politics is how fast it changes so stories about “last stands” always make me nervous.   And I’m not sure the teachers’ unions as the uber villain here really does justice to the complexity of the issue and how broken aspects of education culture are.   That’s not to say the unions don’t contribute to the problem, a lot, only that if they vanished there would not be an immediate golden age.

That said the story and details are fantastic as is the story and it’s certainly going to call attention to what is a really interesting time for the field.  From the wonk perspective the material Brill gave to Ed Week, which I assume was too inside baseball for The Times Mag, is really interesting.   Keep an eye on that.  In the long run if anything here has legs it’s that.

6 thoughts on “Curtain Raiser?

  1. edlharris

    I remember NYTM for the article on Cambodia by Christopher Jones in which he plagiarized Andre Malraux’s “The Royal Way”. (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1129&dat=19820222&id=SU4NAAAAIBAJ&sjid=km0DAAAAIBAJ&pg=3640,4935714) (Christopher wrote that he saw someone who looked like Pol Pot. His quote from Malraux

    And then a year later they featured Douglas Pike in front of a chalkboard for their article on the “new” scholarship of the Vietnam War.
    Douglas Pike had written “idelogical” on his chalkboard.

    And did Andy really write only that if they(teacher unions) vanished there would not be an immediate golden age.

  2. edlharris

    Regarding the Brill article at edweek, read the comments at 5/18/2010 7:40 PM EDT on EdWeek of Leonie Haimson.

  3. steven brill

    I don’t know Ms. Haimson, but her data appear to be wrong. For starters, according to the Department of Education’s own statistics, there were about 40% more students enrolled on the charter side of the building than the numbers she cites, and the LEP student percentage was about five times the low percentage she uses.

  4. Linda/RetiredTeacher

    Is there anyone besides me who believes that once this recession is over, the unions will emerge as a strong professional organization similar to the AMA? The reason for my optimism is based on the fact that young women are now going into any number of professions, just as men have traditionally done. Once this recession is over, and the baby boomers are retired, who will be there to take the jobs? Teaching thirty seventh graders in a “challenging” school is not all that popular. My guess is that districts will start begging again and this time they’ll have to offer a lot more to get the teachers they need.

    That’s my hope.

  5. melody

    Linda, the “reformers” want to replace teachers with rebots. They think online learning and other electronic media can substitute for the old chalk & talk routine. I’m sure they will be successful, because it will be a big hit with parents, who would love to see their children hooked to electronic devices more than they are now.

  6. edlharris

    Steven Brill wrote:
    LEP student percentage was about five times the low percentage she uses.

    Not based on the data from here, Steven:
    http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/districtsearch/district_detail.asp?Search=1&Zip=10025&Miles=30&ID2=3600169

    2 ELL out of 276 equals 0.7%, based upon the math skills I learned in Catholic parochial school

    Steven also responded:
    For starters, according to the Department of Education’s own statistics, there were about 40% more students enrolled on the charter side of the building than the numbers she cites,

    She gave no enrollment stats in the post I noted.

    So, what do we have here?
    Mr. Steven Brill has misstated “facts” twice.

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