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November 26, 2017

Talking About Public Education: The Good, the Deceptive, and the Destructive

We have the human capital, the resources and the technical knowledge to transform public education over a generation. What we lack is the public will to do so—for children other than our own, at least.

May 04, 2017

Can We Trust Policymakers to Make Good Decisions for Schools?

Can we trust policymakers to make beneficial decisions for schools? Can we rely on their deep understanding of the issues, their moral compass, their desire to craft policy for the common good?

April 09, 2017

Misguided Things People Say About Public Schools

The unexamined national goal now seems to be a productive, compliant workforce, at the lowest cost, not an educated citizenry. Instead of building on our public education infrastructure, we talk about "failing schools," and bogus international testing data.

December 28, 2016

Teacher in a Strange Land: Best Blogs of 2016

If you had told me--on New Year's Day, 2016--that we would end the year with Donald Trump headed to the White House (at least occasionally, to govern, if not to live) with Betsy DeVos as his nominee for Secretary of Education, well... it's hard to finish this sentence. Let's review 2016.

December 12, 2016

Terminal Charterism: The View From Michigan

If you want to know what end-stage, terminal charterism looks like--how it impacts the educational ecology, when it is fertilized by policy tweaks, and allowed to flourish--take a look at the reality of Betsy DeVos's accomplishments in Michigan.

November 11, 2016

Get Rid of the Department of Education? Why Not?

I think a case could be made that the last two administrations have so morphed the originating aims of a federal department in charge of educating all students--whether intentionally or not--we might not find the loss of a department of education and burning down 16 years of questionable policy such a loss. But then--I think of equity. We are responsible for all children. Aren't we?

October 04, 2016

Seven Things I Learned From Attending a Charter School Board Meeting

I have been to hundreds of school board meetings in my life, mostly in the district where I taught for 30 years, and neighboring districts. I have attended Board meetings in Detroit, Lansing and Denver. Recently--I decided to check out the board meeting of a local charter school. I did this because the charter in question had been co-opted by an unreliable and ethically challenged operator. Who was guarding the citizens' interest and tax monies?

September 18, 2016

What Is the Purpose of School? Who Knows? Who Cares?

I can't help wondering what would happen if the question were phrased as a constructed response. What if we asked parents, childless millennials or retirees: What's the purpose of public education? Why do we collect taxes and build buildings and elect school boards and argue about phonics vs. whole language? What's the end game?

July 15, 2016

Destabilize & Replace

It seems--again--patently obvious that opening a glitzy new school will automatically change the education market (whether you call that disruption or destabilization) surrounding it. Every child that previously attended a public school will become a unit of displacement. How soon does this negatively impact public systems?

June 30, 2016

Advanced-Stage Charter Syndrome: What "Maturity" Means to the Charter Movement

All the good intentions in the world cannot override the conversion of a long-established public good into a profit-making commodity. I no longer believe that there is a magic legislative formula that will allow "good" charters to exist harmoniously with public schools. I now understand that the end game of unfettered charterism: privatization and exclusivity.

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The opinions expressed in Teacher in a Strange Land are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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