« This week: The Carnival of Education, etc | Main | eduwonkette index - Golden Globe edition »

No Excuses on "The Wire"

Last week, A-Rus asked if "The Wire" is just "poverty porn." This week, Dave Bellel puts up a clip from last night's episode that hits the "no excuses" debate in less than 2 minutes. Is the Ed Trust or Richard Rothstein doing the ghost writing? You decide.

Obviously, Ed Burns has been ridiculing the Ed Trust approach and now Simon is going to present the Richard Rothstein approach. The only thing better in education writing is when Richard Price, author of the Clockers who actually lived in the Jersey projects, is the co-author. Remember Price's episode where the alt.ed. kids debated whether to beat down another and they agreed that you had to be hard because everyone's always watching you. Then they cut to police watching and entrapping the guy on the bicycle. Regardless of whether you are dealing with schools, the drug war, politicians, or the press, when you mandate top down data-driven accountability and try to remove professional judgement from teachers, judges, editors, whatever, then Campbell's Law holds true. True believers just make things worse when they deny the complexity of humanity.

Burns, Price, et. al. knew that the same human comedy that accompanied the war on drugs and that was made worse by the 1986 drug law would be repeated with NCLB. The police call it "juking the stats," educators call it Campbell's law, and in the best punch line of last year, the principal called it "curriculum alignment."

Burn's a former teacher has a perfect pitch in ridiculing the Ed Trust. His real-life asst. principal played a bit part two years ago when Bunny brought the street dealers back to the school gym but couldn't shut them up. The real life principal did. She and Burns battled over alternative education. Most teachers agree with Burns, and deride theorists who resist alt. ed. because they believe that High Expectations and professional development are enough. But he respected his real-life asst. principal. Being a realist, she compromised and they referred their "Corner Kids" to an alt. ed. program.

I'm assuming that the leader of the John Hopkins team is based on Robert Balfanz. The character sure resembled him. And they know that when dealing with the most troubled they are, "heading into uncharted terriotory."

I'm anticipating that the reporter will be a composite of the reporters who faked sources and an Ed Trust/Its Being Done advocate who will blame the schools for the sins of all of Baltimore.

Again, Burns and Simon are equally brilliant in lambasting the crass opportunists and the naive idealist, and indicate that they are equally destructive. Its sorta like the equal damage done by Bush and the Left in NCLB, because neither can see "shades of grey." In schools like the streets, if you can't revel in the complexity of human nature, you are heading for a fall.

John Thompson

Well, let's see. According to UNESCO the United States has (1) the highest rates of childhood poverty in 28 OECD nations; (2) the lowest rates of family support through social services; and (3) is just about tied with England as the worst place in the advanced world to be a child, in terms of health care, family support, social services, and violence.

What else? In many large cities, the number of deaths from gunshots reaches 25-33% of the rate in Iraq since the war started. I think that probably means the gunshot death rate per 100,000 citizens in these cities is higher than it is in Iraq. Meanwhile in some rural counties in the South, nearly 50% of school-aged children live with neither parent. When Bill Clinton was President, a story actually ran in the Washington Post about a 12-year-old girl who wanted to pick out the dress she would be buried in, since she was sure she would die on Washington's mean streets. It's hard to pay much attention to AYP goals when student bystanders are ducking bullets on a near-daily basis in urban drug conflicts.

It's understandable that the powers-that-be would not want to make this thing too complex, as the video clip indicates. So the talking heads and blowhards have agreed that the problem is in the schools, a perfect holding bin where the problem and the solution can both be measured.

And they get a bonus. The bloviators get to bash teachers' unions and public employees generally -- a win-win situation for the fans of the fairy dust of markets in both parties.

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • wonkery123: Well, let's see. According to UNESCO the United States has read more
  • John Thompson: Obviously, Ed Burns has been ridiculing the Ed Trust approach read more




Technorati search

» Blogs that link here


8th grade retention
Fordham Foundation
The New Teacher Project
Tim Daly
absent teacher reserve
absent teacher reserve

accountability in Texas
accountability systems in education
achievement gap
achievement gap in New York City
acting white
AERA annual meetings
AERA conference
Alexander Russo
Algebra II
American Association of University Women
American Education Research Associatio
American Education Research Association
American Educational Research Journal
American Federation of Teachers
Andrew Ho
Art Siebens
Baltimore City Public Schools
Barack Obama
Bill Ayers
black-white achievement gap
books on educational research
boy crisis
brain-based education
Brian Jacob
bubble kids
Building on the Basics
Cambridge Education
carnival of education
Caroline Hoxby
Caroline Hoxby charter schools
cell phone plan
charter schools
Checker Finn
Chicago shooting
Chicago violence
Chris Cerf
class size
Coby Loup
college access
cool people you should know
credit recovery
curriculum narrowing
Dan Willingham
data driven
data-driven decision making
data-driven decision-making
David Cantor
Dean Millot
demographics of schoolchildren
Department of Assessment and Accountability
Department of Education budget
Diplomas Count
disadvantages of elite education
do schools matter
Doug Ready
Doug Staiger
dropout factories
dropout rate
education books
education policy
education policy thinktanks
educational equity
educational research
educational triage
effects of neighborhoods on education
effects of No Child Left Behind
effects of schools
effects of Teach for America
elite education
Everyday Antiracism
excessed teachers
exit exams
experienced teachers
Fordham and Ogbu
Fordham Foundation
Frederick Douglass High School
Gates Foundation
gender and education
gender and math
gender and science and mathematics
gifted and talented
gifted and talented admissions
gifted and talented program
gifted and talented programs in New York City
girls and math
good schools
graduate student union
graduation rate
graduation rates
guns in Chicago
health benefits for teachers
High Achievers
high school
high school dropouts
high school exit exams
high school graduates
high school graduation rate
high-stakes testing
high-stakes tests and science
higher ed
higher education
highly effective teachers
Houston Independent School District
how to choose a school
incentives in education
Institute for Education Sciences
is teaching a profession?
is the No Child Left Behind Act working
Jay Greene
Jim Liebman
Joel Klein
John Merrow
Jonah Rockoff
Kevin Carey
KIPP and boys
KIPP and gender
Lake Woebegon
Lars Lefgren
leaving teaching
Leonard Sax
Liam Julian

Marcus Winters
math achievement for girls
meaning of high school diploma
Mica Pollock
Michael Bloomberg
Michelle Rhee
Michelle Rhee teacher contract
Mike Bloomberg
Mike Klonsky
Mike Petrilli
narrowing the curriculum
National Center for Education Statistics Condition of Education
new teachers
New York City
New York City bonuses for principals
New York City budget
New York City budget cuts
New York City Budget cuts
New York City Department of Education
New York City Department of Education Truth Squad
New York City ELA and Math Results 2008
New York City gifted and talented
New York City Progress Report
New York City Quality Review
New York City school budget cuts
New York City school closing
New York City schools
New York City small schools
New York City social promotion
New York City teacher experiment
New York City teacher salaries
New York City teacher tenure
New York City Test scores 2008
New York City value-added
New York State ELA and Math 2008
New York State ELA and Math Results 2008
New York State ELA and Math Scores 2008
New York State ELA Exam
New York state ELA test
New York State Test scores
No Child Left Behind
No Child Left Behind Act
passing rates
picking a school
press office
principal bonuses
proficiency scores
push outs
qualitative educational research
qualitative research in education
quitting teaching
race and education
racial segregation in schools
Randall Reback
Randi Weingarten
Randy Reback
recovering credits in high school
Rick Hess
Robert Balfanz
Robert Pondiscio
Roland Fryer
Russ Whitehurst
Sarah Reckhow
school budget cuts in New York City
school choice
school effects
school integration
single sex education
small schools
small schools in New York City
social justice teaching
Sol Stern
Stefanie DeLuca
stereotype threat
talented and gifted
talking about race
talking about race in schools
Teach for America
teacher effectiveness
teacher effects
teacher quailty
teacher quality
teacher tenure
teachers and obesity
Teachers College
teachers versus doctors
teaching as career
teaching for social justice
teaching profession
test score inflation
test scores
test scores in New York City
testing and accountability
Texas accountability
The No Child Left Behind Act
The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning Gains
thinktanks in educational research
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
Tom Kane
University of Iowa
Urban Institute study of Teach for America
Urban Institute Teach for America
value-added assessment
Wendy Kopp
women and graduate school science and engineering
women and science
women in math and science
Woodrow Wilson High School