Now, the idea of using cell phones and cell phone talk time as an incentive for student academics has run into a predictable political buzz-saw. Why? Well, last year, the NYC schools system banned cell phones from schools, a decision that was widely opposed by students and parents and has led many corner stores to "check" students cell phones while they're in school each day.
Neither of these reward-based ideas is necessarily bad, in my view at least, but someone get this guy a (better) handler and a brush-up on selection bias. When you're at the center of the storm, you just can't mess up like this. Or maybe there's more behind this that I don't know.
Meanwhile, the controversy of the city's effort to discredit Diane Ravitch continues with her response (here).