Tag: Arne Duncan Arne Duncan City Limits


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Read: More Arne Duncan Edition


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The dropout nation is brimming with news: Matt Yglesias argues that some conservatives are moving past charters because they “don’t do anything to entrench the privileges of the wealthy.” As…

The dropout nation is brimming with news:

  1. Matt Yglesias argues that some conservatives are moving past charters because they “don’t do anything to entrench the privileges of the wealthy.” As usual, Yglesias weakens his arguments with class warfare material instead of making a strong case for his position. For one, plenty of conservatives are supportive of charters; it’s usually hard-core libertarians — who, on principle, are opposed to any state intervention in education — and moderate Republicans representing suburban school districts (which oppose vouchers and charters altogether) who have issues with charters. Two, as seen in the case of D.C.‘s soon-to-be-shuttered voucher program and the pioneering program in Milwaukee (along with programs run by private foundations), all the kids attending private schools on vouchers are poor. If Yglesias is going to play the class warfare game, he should at least get it right.
  2. In any case, charters and vouchers can both foster educational equity, especially for the poorest children, who couldn’t otherwise afford even the highest-quality Catholic schools. As I’ve reported in The Catholic World Report, Catholic archdioceses across the country struggle to maintain their position as the private schools of choice for poor immigrant, urban and rural families largely because of the costs. Allowing for both charters and vouchers, along with improving the quality of public education overall, helps to bring equity to all.
  3. Speaking of charters: Diane Ravitch is at it again. At least she admits charter schools do work (even if it is a tad backhanded).
  4. And the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools releases its rating of states today. The Washington Post has its take.
  5. The Orlando Sentinel notes that only 14 Sunshine State districts have so far signed onto the state’s Race to the Top reform plan. Meanwhile the head of Florida’s PTA has taken a stand for Race to the Top participation.
  6. Speaking of Race to the Top, Tom Carroll speculates on whether the state’s dysfunctional legislature will get the job done. Of course, the AFT’s New York State affiliate is key in this discussion — as as noted yesterday, aren’t exactly playing nice.
  7. Speaking of the AFT, here is the video of union president Randi Weingarten’s announcement that it will begin supporting the use of student test score data in teacher evaluations. How much of this is proverbial rope-a-dope? As Andy Rotherham notes, Weingarten declares the union is turning over a new leaf every year with little in the way of follow-through. Weingarten’s letter in Monday’s Wall Street Journal (along with her classic “Bush II” comment last year) justifies the skepticism. But, as I’ve noted, the location of the AFT’s locals in hotbeds of reform, along with its history and demographics, makes it more likely that the union will actually walk the walk. Besides, as pointed out by the Education Equality Project, it’s a sweet way to stick it to the rival National Education Association (which has historically lagged behind the AFT in everything).
  8. Meanwhile the guy causing all these dust-ups, Arne Duncan, gets a bashing from one outlet for lacking teaching experience. As if the most successful education reformers this past decade (or for that matter, this past century) have been teachers. By the way, my take on Duncan and the problems in reforming school districts is officially up today.
  9. EducationNews’ Michael Shaughnessy interviews The Month of Zephram Mondays author Leslie A. Susskind. Short and interesting.
  10. Chad Ratliff observes the appointment of a charter school-friendly state education chieftain in his home state of Virginia — a notoriously difficult state in which to start them — and is excited by the possibilities.
  11. Joanne Jacobs comments on the latest round of charter school activity in L.A. and notes that charters are doing well by their students even if they have to admit all children– unlike magnet schools, which Richard Kahlenberg fails to point out in a screed dedicated to yours truly. As an aside: It is interesting that those arguing for equity support a form of public education that is inherently unequal and anti-family choice.
  12. And for those interested in the role of broadband in education, here’s a on distance learning and broadband given yesterday at the Broadband Breakfast by the Federal Communications Commission’s education director. Enjoy.

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