Tag: Ta-Nehisi Coates


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Read: Jean Beliveau Edition


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While your editor makes a rare indulgence into his  fascination with all things hockey (and joins others in wishing a legendary rink rat a speedy recovery), read what’s going on…

Not the way to treat a Ranger. Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated.

While your editor makes a rare indulgence into his  fascination with all things hockey (and joins others in wishing a legendary rink rat a speedy recovery), read what’s going on in the dropout nation:

  1. While Race to the Top has captured the headlines everywhere, it is especially becoming a point of discussion in the city of Blue Suede Shoes, where at least eight schools will likely be seized from the control of Memphis Public Schools and put into turnaround. Tennessee State Sen. Reginald Tates provides some insight on how the city’s school district (and its children) will benefit from this effort in the Tri-State Defender.
  2. Meanwhile there is more going on in Memphis, from battles over school funding to questions as to whether the school district will be allowed to form its own police force. All this, along with the Gates-funded teacher quality effort under way, may make Memphis an interesting place to watch among school reformers.
  3. At Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s black studies blog, Professor Howard Ramsby writes about the need to mold young black men into strong, learned role models. Ta-Nehisi Coates notes that parents have to often find themselves disliking their parents (in that selfish-child-way) as part of the process of becoming a moral adult who can stand on his own two feet.
  4. The headshaker of the week appeared earlier this month, but it’s still a headshaker: Some Harvard ed school grads wrote an “open letter” to its administrators. They are demanding that the ed school speak out “against the unprecedented attack on public education.” What, dare say, is this attack? Start with “the over-testing of students” to their contention that performance pay plans “deny and undermine the essentially collaborative nature of teaching.” As if teachers spend all that much time teaching joint classes with their colleagues. Sure, I understand what they mean by this. But honestly, the current system of rewarding all teachers, regardless of the quality of their work, with tenure and raises based on little more than seniority and number of degrees awarded does little to improve the quality of education for the children in their care. Dear letter-writers: The grade for this letter is an “incomplete.” Try again.
  5. Another headshaker: This time, it’s a Web site: Stop Homework. No comment.
  6. In his Centraljersey.com piece, Hank Kalet makes clear that he is apparently afraid that new New Jersey education chief Brett Schundler will make his advocacy for school vouchers a centerpiece of his reform. Given the low quality of so many of the Garden State’s urban and suburban districts, are vouchers and charters still such an anathema?
  7. Yes, according to a recent poll by Quinnipac University’s pollsters. Given that New Jersey is that rare instance of a mostly-suburban state with powerful unions and parents loyal to traditional public school districts, this isn’t so surprising.
  8. In South Carolina, a state where arguments over the state’s abysmal graduation rate is just beginning to reach the levels seen in Indiana four years ago, a school choice supporter is entering the race for the education superintendent’s post, according to WACH-TV. Meanwhile Palmetto State school districts are still struggling to make Adequate Yearly Progress, reports the Sun News.
  9. In Maryland, the state schools superintendent wants to actually subject teachers to performance management, according to WBAL-TV. By using student test scores no less. And, by the way, wants to make probationary teachers wait four years before gaining tenure. Sure, not all that radical compared to what Jason Kamras and Michelle Rhee are trying to do in D.C. But this is Maryland, not exactly friendly territory for school reform.
  10. Speaking of Kamras: Yesterday’s video report has garnered some strong responses. Feel free to read and join in.
  11. Meanwhile, in New York, the state education department has named 34 New York City schools that should either be overhauled, shut down or doe-see-doed, according to Gotham Schools. Joel Klein and company already has most of that handled. Of course.
  12. When she was Indiana’s state schools superintendent, Suellen Reed was, well, underwhelming. Or as I put it back in 2004, she needed to hand in her walking papers. So Reed must be a tad saddened that her successor, Tony Bennett, seems to have gotten more done in less than one year in office that she did in 16.

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