Odds & Ends

I’m pretty sure that Jonathan Schorr of New Schools Venture Fund…

jonathan schorr

… and Jermaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords were separated at birth.


Also, in case you were wondering, I have no plans to marry John Thompson.

Couple of edujobs in the charter school world, including a CEO role.

The lede of this article speaks to the symbolism problem in our field, the body speaks to what’s really at stake here.    Some new research on community college completion rates.  And if someone can explain how denying all these public school parents more choices is good for public education, please do.  Here’s another cut at that issue from Cleveland.

Here’s one account of what went down in New York last week at the EEP meeting, but hedge fund manager cum fight promoter Whitney Tilson has the too hot for newspapers version.  And, if you like theater, this event promises some.

And remember the Nelson Smith – Stephen Joel Trachtenberg fight over college scholarship eligibility for public charter school students from D.C?  Well, a few years have passed and it’s ended well and charter students can now participate.

8 Replies to “Odds & Ends”

  1. All of this conversation about school choice and charters are great for those in New York, Chicago, and other major cities. School choice is an umbrella concept driving how reformers view, say, teacher quality, student achievement, and school success. School and parental choice, however, will never work in many suburban or rural districts. Honestly, I get a little tired of hearing about education reform in NY and DC because those models will not likely work in districts where there is only one school at every level, all of which are failing, according to NCLB. Encourage urban reformers and all the hot young Ivy League educated entrepreneurs to open charters in the non-Chicago Midwest. Oh wait, even though they open schools, they still like to party, so sure, cities are good for that. I forgot. And, of course, there would not be enough accolades for their T for A resumes if they opened schools outside the public spotlight. Ah well, looks like farm kids are just not as provocative as those in he cities.

  2. How come I hear it this way?

    You never listen.

    What I said was, … On never mind.

    Have I ever told you about the Toledo Plan?

    Actually, just last night my wife said, “I know you’ve talked about the Toldedo Plan before. What did you say it is?

  3. Hm, very, very funny. Was that a joke, perhaps a veiled attempt to suggest that I glance at the wonderful invention, wait for it: The Toledo Plan! Wow… wait a second. This sounds a lot like the crap I went through in Montgomery County, MD. Let’s see… mentor teacher… check. Consulting teacher… check. Some kind of meaningless probationary period marred by administrative and bureaucratic hurdles… check. Mutual goal setting that no one really listens to because my personal goals as a teacher are meaningless compared to the mistrust and lack of flexibility engendered by a system that actually dislikes teachers very much… a-check. This Toledo Plan sure sounds innovative, exciting, and almost-totally-exactly same as the evaluation plan I went through. It sure sounds great for people who enter classrooms either with an IQ of 75 or are nearly dead. But then again, why would a teacher training, or a university for the matter, allow a degree and certification be granted to someone with an IQ of 75 or are nearly dead? In fact, why would a school even hire someone how was indeed nearly dead or seemed to have an IQ of 75? I don’t know, but I sure am glad Pa we have that there Toledo Plan. Without it, well shucks, we’d be in a real pickle.

  4. Oh, and by the way, on another note for the so-called Toledo Plan: when I began teaching, I did not spend roughly $40K on a Masters Degree to be called an Intern. Perhaps just semantics, of course, but language and title are powerful, SYMBOLIC gestures.

  5. Jeff,

    Somebody put a lot of k’s for me to get a doctorate so now I get called, a G__- D_____ M___ F____ an S__ o B___ and a ____. It goes with the job if you teach in the inner city.

    The Montgomery County system, you said, is a lot like Toledo, but it wasn’t Toledo, right?

    You didn’t expect mindless jargon?

    Dang! You speak Okie in Pa? So do we in Oklahoma! Back in the day when I was wrestling iron in the oil patch I was a “worm,” but I don’t know if that’s more honorific than the daliy profanities thrown at all the teachers – after all I’m one of the most popular teachers in the school. To me, the real profanity is the word “accountability,” but you don’t see me get all weird over that do you?

    No, the real indignities will be suffered by my students once the majority of them are on the street.

    The real problem, though, is not jargon or even the mindless testing of the Bush years. The real problem was the rapid deinstrustialization iof America, the legacy of Jim Crow and colonialism, and the breakdown of the family. We educators keep beating ourselves up over problems we didn’t create and over which we have little power. The bed was burning long before anyone of us got into it.

    But, I’ve got to ask this. We’ve spent so much more money on education this last decade, I have to wonder how much improvement we could have accomplished had we just talked out our differences, split each issue right down the middle, and followed the old rule “you are not the problem, I’m not the problem. The problem is the problem.” Or we could have said, “you are not the proximate cause of instructional dysfunction, Im not the ….” Actually I’d prefer, “You didn’t f___it up, I didn’t …”

  6. John,

    Great conversation, this is precisely the kind of snarky, intellectual tone that is needed in educational discussions. If I’m reading into it correctly, the snark needs to come back a bit because I tend to think that policy folks take themselves and their solutions too seriously.

    Nevertheless, there are some very serious problems and I am somewhere in the Ivory Tower at a research institution. I am new to the game, but constantly frustrated at the overall impotence of many of us within academia to be able to absolutely anything meaningful about education’s problems. Perhaps I vent my frustrations a bit unfairly in a somewhat anonymous forum, but this is precisely the kind of location many of us should be comfortable testing and communicating new ideas, within certain limits.

    There are plenty of social problems that preclude educational success. Let’s just try to make sure that educators have control of the problems on their end, at least more than they’ve had in the past. If need be, all of us male teachers just need to talk straight to the little punks, teach them some manners, carry around a table leg, and then end up dancing some weird 60’s dance, just like “Sir.”

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