I’ve received a few emails in the past week asking about Bellwether’s “positioning” because of various things our analysts have written or said lately. Here’s the deal: We take no organizational positions, on anything other than issues affecting all 501c3 organizations like ours as a class. Instead, our analysts enjoy editorial freedom. It’s how we attract the best people and such an exceptional team of analysts. So we’re serious about quality control but there is not editorial control, at all, and it doesn’t matter whenever I or Sara Mead or anyone else at Bellwether agrees with this point or that one as long it’s well argued. Unusual, yes. but we think (hope!) there is a place for it. Our grant funded work allows us to support a variety of perspectives and points of view – because we believe less of this is settled than most people seem to. It’s also what makes our client work strong, you’re not getting whatever the tired truism or fashion of the moment is, we stress test our work by filtering it through genuinely different and informed viewpoints and perspectives.
Some takes the past week. Here’s a new Bellwether analysis by Kate Pennington and Sara Mead on teacher evaluation in the ESSA era.
Here’s Mead on school choice. Hailly Korman on the new federalists in the education world. Kate Pennington and Max Marchitello on charter schools and unions. Max on why urban and rural communities have more in common than not when it comes to school finance - important political implications if Democrats play their cards right. Allison Davis on SEL. Kirsten Schmitz on gender gaps and pensions. And here’s Pennington in U.S. News about teacher evaluation.
New resource from ED about helping students in secure facilities transition back to school. We do a lot of work on this issue at Bellwether. Overlooked but very important.
Conor Sen wants a pension bailout for Rust Belt cities. Some merit to the idea but a restructuring of pensions should accompany any aid. Teacher pensions really only work for about one in five teachers right now. It’s important that cities meet existing obligations to retirees and workers but this is not a system that should be extended in its current form.
Department of winning battles and losing wars: RiShawn Biddle looks at teachers union spending against the expansion of Massachusetts charter schools.
This is fantastic! Kaya Henderson is moonlighting as a model. After the World Series Cubs (and former Red Sox) executive Theo Epstein was asked his secret. His response,
“All that business school leadership stuff is bullshit,” he tells me. If there’s a secret, it’s to “keep deflecting credit, keep from blaming. Live your fucking life and be nice to people.”
Kaya seems to live that as much as anyone in this sector.