What We Know Now and An Alternative to Accountability-Based Education Reform

Randy Olson’s Flock of Dodos (2006) explores the evolution and Intelligent Design (ID) debate that represents the newest attack on teaching evolution in U.S. public schools. The documentary is engaging, enlightening, and nearly too fair considering Olson admits upfront that he stands with scientists who support evolution as credible science and reject ID as something outside the […]

Decadent billionaire Zombies: They walk amongst us

How much more pain will the working class allow the decadent billionaire zombies to inflict on the working class in America?  The answer is ssimple:  as much as an unorganized working class will allow them.  These disaster capitalist zombies are in the captain’s seat, that is for sure.  What this spells for Amerrica is a […]

Teacher Quality Mania: Backward by Design

Let’s return to the allegory of the river. Throughout the Land, people discovered babies floating in the river. A few were chosen to save those babies. While many survived, too many babies perished. Technocrats, Economists, and Statisticians gathered all the Data that they could and discovered that at least 60% of the reason the babies […]

"Breaking Away" from Inequity?

I have been a serious cyclist now for almost as long as I have been an educator, about thirty years. One of my favorite films, which I showed each year I taught high school English, is Breaking Away, a 1979 fim based on the real-life mania for cycling by the main character, Dave Stoller (Dave […]

A Model T Education: Public Schooling on the Assembly Line

“Mass production is a problem the auto industry solved over 100 years ago,” veteran education reporter Jonn Merrow narrates over grainy images of Model Ts being rolled out of a factory in his most recent PBS NewsHour report. He observes that with the Model T, Henry Ford’s innovation was not in creating a quality car, […]

Teach for America: The Story of Misinformation

What do the following have in common? • Three high-quality teachers in a row can increase student achievement and even life-long earning. [1] • Teachers are the single-most important factor in student learning. [2] • U.S. students sit in the middle of the pack in international rankings of standardized test scores. [3] • On average, […]

The “Naïve Expert” Problem in Market Paradigm and Education Reform

In a letter written to Charles Thompson in 1787, Thomas Jefferson stated: “The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees, in every object, only the traits which favor that theory.” The dangers inherent in the ideologue may have been central to Jefferson’s faith in democracy wedded to his personal and political commitment to […]

The MLK Imperative in an Era of "No Excuses"

My father was a hard-ass, €”a Southern version of the Red Forman-type made popular in That 70’s Show. I grew up, then, in a “no excuses” environment rooted in the 1950s work ethic my father personified. [1] Mine was a working-class background: My paternal grandfather (for whom I was named) ran the small-town gas station […]

Delusion and Negligence: The Two-Party System in the U.S.

With Twitter, texting, and hundreds of cable stations surrounding me, my goal last night was a Herculean one: Avoid at all costs the waste that was the so-called presidential debates. I’ve now crested the first half of a century and am sliding into whatever portion of the second half this existence allows me. On the […]

"The Difficult Thirty Percent" Redux: The Equity Gap 2012

Ralph Ellison, celebrated author of Invisible Man, spoke in September 1963 at a teachers’ conference “…to discuss ‘these children,’ the difficult thirty percent. We know this very well; it has been hammered out again and again.” Ellison was addressing the educational failures of African American children in U.S. public schools, including drop outs. Rejecting the […]