Monthly Archives: February 2014

Why Teachers Hate PD

People outside education are sometimes baffled about why teachers are so sour about professional development. Here’s a short video that will make it more understandable:

Edujobs – Charter Board Partners

School boards are often a weak link in school quality.  Charter school boards are no exception.  That’s why Charter Board Partners was launched, to try to improve the quality of charter governing boards.  CBP is growing and hiring for multiple roles including, Director of Finance and Operations, Director of Board Support, an Executive Director for their DC team, and some administrative roles. More info through that link.

Democrat v. Democrat

It sure looks like the old splits in the Democratic party on education are reemerging.  That’s not surprising given the timing – open seat presidency in 2016 creates a vacuum  – as well as policy differences and politics.  Richard Whitmire and I take a look at that in USA Today this morning.

Most non-New Yorkers know only two things about Bill de Blasio, the city’s new progressive mayor: Heeats pizza with a knife and fork, and Al Roker attacked him for sending students to school in a snowstorm.

But parents should know a third: He’s waging a Democrat vs. Democrat battle over education issues that could spill into the 2016 Democratic presidential primary and into your community.

Entire op-ed here.

Blue Deviled – Does The Duke Porn Star Really Tell Us Much About College Costs?

The story had the perfect ingredients for an online firestorm – a student at Duke paying her way through college by performing in adult films.  College costs, parental anxiety, and sex. It was only kittens away from having the entire internet covered.  The coverage not surprisingly turned to the sexual aspects — fueled in no small part by the reaction of the some of the young woman’s classmates.  The gender issues are significant but that’s well trod ground – especially at Duke. The college cost issue is fresher. Did this student, “Lauren” (not her real name), have to turn to porn or was it a choice among several paths to a competitive college degree? And what’s the takeaway from all this for those concerned about college costs and access, if there is one at all?

RealClearEducation’s Emmeline Zhao talked with Lauren about that last week in an interview published this morning. It was the kind of interview I prefer, a person in their own words and unfiltered. Readers can draw their own conclusions.

My take: At its core this is a story of an eighteen year old still figuring things out, unfortunately now on the public stage with a story that is impossible to resist.  Lauren had scholarships to other schools but chose Duke instead. So, despite the outrageous cost of attending some colleges, in this instance Lauren made a choice.  That doesn’t mean there is not a problem with college costs, and Lauren’s account reinforces what a lousy job the country does signaling to students about their college and college financing choices (pdf). But her specific story seems more about someone drawn to the adult entertainment industry than it does about college costs.

But read the interview yourself and decide.

Shots Fired! Tim Daly Calls Out The Teachers Unions On Common Core

ij61za9TNTP’s Tim  Daly says both major teachers unions are now undermining Common Core.

“This has everything to do with politics and job protection.”  

Strong stuff but he’s giving voice to what a lot of people are saying behind the scenes (and something the Whiteboard Education Insider survey is picking up), which is why this is a must-read.  What’s not clear yet is whether we’re seeing a genuine pivot in how people view the teachers unions and what’s possible or a temporary setback in an ongoing relationship.  Too soon too tell and Tim ascribes a posture to the administration that I’d argue is too strong – especially in an election year. But there is definitely a Lucy and the football quality to how reformers and the Common Core coalition feel about what’s happening.

One irony worth pointing out is that many teachers understandably want to see the current publishing and assessment industry disrupted. Union leaders claim to want that, too, though at the national level they’re a lot more cozy with big commercial interests in education than their rhetoric lets on. But Common Core with both its commonality and curricular flexibility offers arguably* the best chance to reshape that marketplace and allow new and smaller providers to compete.  A lot of Common Core critics seem not to get that Common Core going down isn’t bad for the commercial status quo in education. On the contrary, it would bolster a lot of today’s problems and vested interests.

*School choice proponents would disagree!