School Reform

Candidate for Mayor Issues Critique of DC School Reforms

Andy ShallalAndy ShallalDC Candidate for Mayor Andy Shallal issued an analysis of DC Public School Reform on his Web site February 14. Contrary to pupular opinion, an analysis of NAEP scores shows that low income and African American students have actually seen little to no improvement over the six years of experimentation with reforms under chancellors Rhee and Henderson. Budget Analysis Mary Levy also developed revealing charts based on the NAEP scores that show clearly that whites and wealthier students have been the only beneficiaries. The trajectory of improvement was actually better before the reformers came to town. Shallal also lays out his vision of what an alternative approach would look like -- one based on "support, collaboration and respect" rather than "test and punish." On March 12th, Washington Post columnist and blogger Valerie Strauss wrote about Andy's paper and posted 7 charts (here), that show the failed track record of DC School Reform.

Steve Brill's Book, "Class Warfare," Attacks Unions and Engenders a Very Useful Debate

Steven BrillSteven Brill

Diane Ravitch offers a powerful critique in her New York Review of Books review of "Class Warfare" of hedge-fund managers who have claimed leadership of the reform movement as their pet cause. She contrasts Brill's myth-making with the truth-telling of a compassionate teacher from the Bronx, Janet Grossbach Mayer, in her new book, As Bad As They Say?

Steve Brill's new book is an unreleneting attack on teacher unions as the single source of what ails public education, but according to Dana Goldstein in The Nation it also is guilty of perpetuating the myth that the role of poverty in low student achievement is just not important. Her review is worth a read. Richard Rothstein's review in Slate shows how Brill's simple good vs evil narrative falls apart in the face of the facts just like the larger reform narrative being promoted by the education establishment. Toward the end of the book Brill's main heroine burns out and quits her job teaching at a charter school. She takes a job at a traditional school, protected by a union contract. Rothstein's complete review is well worth a read here.


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