April 10, 2013 |
Last week, 35 former Atlanta educators were forced to take a perp walk, reporting to law enforcement authorities for arrest in connection with the nation's biggest academic scandal. Once among the pillars of metro Atlanta's middle class, they've been reduced to pleading that they don't belong in jail. And that may be true. The charges of a widespread conspiracy to cheat may represent the ambitions of a local prosecutor rather than any top-down plot carried out by a confederacy of criminals.
February 21, 2013
KAHLIL BYRD is all about change, and I don't mean for a dollar or a fiver. No, sir. The change he wants is "disruptive politics" as a path to a better democracy. Byrd is former chief executive of Americans Elect, a 2012 effort that sought an alternative to the two-party presidential nominating process; he's current president of Students First, an education-reform group founded and headed by onetime Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. Byrd's keynoting an education conference at Penn on Saturday, "The Debate for America's Future: Assessing the Viability of Public Education Solutions.
February 6, 2013
ON MY RADIO SHOW on 1210-AM Wednesday morning, I will be interviewing the most dangerous person to the education/industrial complex in America and the educrats who run it. Michelle Rhee is a woman, an Asian-American, a Democrat and a threat to the dysfunctional status quo of the American education system. She'll be speaking Wednesday night at the Free Library of Philadelphia main branch to promote her new book, Radical. The book is a guided tour through her early work in education, her tumultuous years heading up the Washington, D.C., public schools and her work with her million-member group, Students First.
December 6, 2011
ARLENE Ackerman will not go away. In Act Two of her Marie Antoinette act, Ackerman was not satisfied with the nearly $1 million golden-parachute buyout that she extracted from the Philadelphia School District. As a final insult, she has attempted to shake down the taxpayers for pin money: $573 in weekly unemployment compensation. This shameless, chintzy move does not surprise me, nor does the fact that the School Reform Commission won't oppose it, or even that defenders of the great educator, like Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, will try to stifle debate on this.
November 23, 2011 |
WHO WILL run Philadelphia's Schools? Last week, Philadelphia became the latest in a long list of cities to be courted by Bill Gates, when his "Great Schools Compact" was presented for consideration to the School Reform Commission. Bill Gates has taken on a reputation as a school reformer as well as philanthropist, dispensing money throughout the country for struggling schools in economically distressed cities while imposing changes in policies and procedures in those locales. Sounds like just what the doctor ordered.
November 8, 2011 |
"WE HAVE an opening in Philadelphia. Are you interested?" That was one question an audience member submitted for former Washington, D.C., public-schools chancellor Michelle Rhee after her hour-long lecture to a nearly full auditorium at the Kimmel Center last night, undoubtedly referring to the Philadelphia School District's open superindendent position. Rhee didn't directly answer, but said that she misses her previous job, in which she implemented controversial reforms.
November 7, 2011 |
THE CONTROVERSIAL reforms that Michelle Rhee pushed during her tumultuous tenure as public-schools leader in Washington, D.C., were hardly the last marks she'd make on U.S. public education. Since resigning last year, Rhee has pushed hard for school vouchers and merit pay for teachers, and has founded StudentsFirst, which pours money into lawmakers' coffers. Perhaps it shouldn't have come as a surprise then, that, after receiving a $905,000 buyout, Philadelphia's former schools superintendent Arlene Ackerman became a voucher proponent herself.
November 3, 2011
By Christopher Paslay Michelle Rhee, the former Washington public schools chief whose draconian management style got her forced out, recently paid a visit to Simon Gratz High School in Philadelphia. Her main order of business was to push her school reform agenda, including a direct assault on Pennsylvania's "last in, first out," or LIFO, rule for teacher layoffs. Rhee insisted that LIFO is getting rid of our best teachers, arguing that layoffs should be based on job performance instead of seniority.
October 18, 2011
IN INTERVIEWING protesters of Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Philadelphia and, yes, Occupy Doylestown, I've been struck not only by the inability of the protesters to state what they want done, but also by the conspiracy theories that they lapse into to explain their problems in a tough economy. While Woodstock united young people who were rallying against America's involvement in the Vietnam War, the Occupy demonstrators seem to be against everything. Their complaints about the Wall Street bailouts are shared by a lot of my listeners, but the younger people have gone from protesting Wall Street to an assault on capitalism and corporations.
October 11, 2011 |
IN AN urban Head Start classroom, a 3-year-old has just been dropped off by her father and sits on the lap of a volunteer from the "Granny Brigade. " As he leaves, she begins to wail, "Daddy! Dadeeeeee!" Her "granny" holds her gently until she calms down and is ready to join other young children in their morning activities. They go through this ritual for several days until the little girl gradually adjusts to the new experience known as preschool. All children depend on the adults in their lives to establish the basic trust that they will be safe.