Those concerned about race and equality should champion charters

As published in The Boston Globe on April 6, 2016

Re “Racial aspects tinge charter debate” (Page A1, March 28): Massachusetts charter schools are not only among the highest performing in the nation, but they serve a student population that’s 58 percent black and Latino, while statewide that figure is 27 percent.

That should make people who are concerned about race and equality want to support charter school expansion, as a gateway to improved opportunity. Yet you report that the New England Area Council of the NAACP opposes permitting more charter schools, even while the African-American community votes with its feet in overwhelmingly choosing them for their kids.

It’s precisely because ...

Continue Reading →

Recommendations on the GOP Presidential Debate

In the hands of some very seasoned campaign advisors, most presidential candidates take a safe approach to debates. With a relatively short time to get your talking points out, numerous issues to cover and lots of competitors working hard to hog the stage, they are advised to stay focused. But the measure of a candidate is what they do – and say – when programming is impossible. Who these people are and how they’d do as our president is best measured by dealing with issues that every one of us can relate to, the most communal of issues. That’s why I’m hoping that the candidates find opportunities across every issue ...

Continue Reading →

The Untold Story of Post-Katrina Ed Reform Informs Progress

The evolution of education in the immediate weeks post-Katrina is an untold story.  Contrary to popular opinion, it wasn’t high-level politicians who led the charge (they, in fact, came kicking and screaming).  While last month we remembered the storm, prayed over the tragedy and celebrated the progress made in the last 10 years, this month we should dig a little deeper into the significance of “How” such progress happened, not just “What,” in order to inform and guide us through numerous challenges, including the proverbial storm facing most US children everyday in failing schools. In recognition of those who did lead, and as lessons for us all, here is just a fraction of that story:

Continue Reading →

EdReform & Campaign ’16

Dear Editor:

Where do I begin with the factual inaccuracies of Politico’s education coverage on Governor, and now presidential candidate Jeb Bush?  (Bush’s risky education vision, Maggie Severns, 6/15/15)

Let’s start with the timeline. “In the late 1990s, these [charter schools, etc] were largely just concepts on a white board.” Actually by 1998the nation’s strongest charter school laws had been developed and passed, anchored in bi-partisan efforts that united urban minorities stuck in failing schools with suburban republicans who challenged the stranglehold of teachers unions which produced mediocre results for even advantaged kids.  Thirty-three charter laws were passed between 1991 and the end of 1998 – hardly a near empty white board! The nation’s most comprehensive voucher laws had ...

Continue Reading →

Ch Ch Ch Changes

Ch Ch Ch Changes

At the risk of fanning any unflattering stereotypes, I confess I was a bit of a David Bowie fan in my youth. As I sat at my desk to compose this brief note to colleagues and friends about recent happenings, Bowie’s “Changes,” and his picture, flashed in my head. I knew I had my theme for this note. Or a not-so-sudden case of insanity. Changes occur daily, or hourly, for many people. They are as natural as bees in spring, and yet they always seem to imply or feel like something extraordinary. When my kids would (more than the typical student) change schools, there was always this kind of word-smithing ...

Continue Reading →

Education Innovation, the Ark and the Dove

On March 25, 1634, settlers escaping religious persecution in England disembarked onto Maryland soil from two sailing ships, the Ark and the Dove. They saw Maryland as their safe haven. Religious freedom, tolerance, magnanimity, hospitality, prosperity and fraternity represented the hopes of early Maryland. It was a bold and daring people which took innovative tools and vessels to the new world. And yet the very industrious character that brought people to its soil over the past nearly 400 years and put freedom of its people first above all things is all but forgotten and lost on its lawmakers who this week threw away what ...

Continue Reading →

Back to School Book Report

It’s not often two books come out at roughly the same time that, together, provide a true glimpse at the critical and largely unknown story of how the modern day education reform movement came to be.

The first is inspired by the work of Dr. Wyatt T. Walker, former chief of staff to Dr. Martin Luther King. Mary C. Bounds’ A Light Shines in Harlem begins in NY in 1999 as the state’s charter school law is being debated — or should I say — battled into existence, and still one of the most memorable policy events in history with which I’ve been involved.

The Sisulu-Walker Charter School was born out of ...

Continue Reading →

What Every Parent Needs to Know About Their Schools

Posted by:

It’s that time of year again when parents begin their normal winding down period — the nearing end of school! As I wrote recently:

“Teacher Appreciation Day, Field Day, spring concerts, sports competitions and awards ceremonies, plays, debates, school applications and testing, testing, testing. They are all part of that familiar end-of-school-year rhythm, which has started for most and will begin to play out through the year’s end, and the hopeful promotion of our babies to their next level in school. Would that it were so simple – and pleasant – for all families!

“While most of us will experience these milestones with joy and a twang of bittersweet as they signal the ...

Continue Reading →

Charter Schools: Not the Rage, Just the Reality

Posted by:

Charter Schools: Not the Rage, Just the Reality

Charter Schools Are All the Rage? At National Journal earlier this May, 2014, I weighed in as one of their Education Experts to the ongoing debate.

Charter schools are all the rage, but are hardly a fad. The most important takeaway of the past twenty-two plus years now is that doing education differently and better is possible, when we put freedom and accountability at the center of the education process.

Scores of data have been collected, more so than with any other single education effort in modern history. It’s hard to believe we’re still debating the efficacy of a movement that has demonstrably transformed the public education system. Where once no ...

Continue Reading →

Chris Christie: A Vital History Lesson

Posted by:

The public outcry over NJ Governor Chris Christie’s recent travails is a lesson in how to fast become a nation without purpose, driven by drama and innuendo. It also illustrates how little we know about the origins of American democracy and the subsequent responsibility we have as citizens to be engaged, informed participants. The much publicized bridge scandal is just another page in the lasting saga of America’s decline, a decline owed not only to our lagging education system but also our collective failure to recognize the obligation that comes with our unique liberty in this historic Nation.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not an uncritical observer ...

Continue Reading →

The More Things Change…

Posted by:

This post from nearly 3 years ago is a reminder that the best ideas and intentions often fall short if we don’t keep our eyes on the prize. Today in Pennsylvania those efforts are moving ahead thanks to years of effort by my friends at CER as well as the leaders of some of Pennsylvania’s most successful charter schools. But many compromises have been made and problems still remain with the current effort. It’s a cautionary tale that plays out across the nation in policymaking every day — to change the status quo requires fierce determination, every day.

Read the original article by clicking here

Continue Reading →

Choice is Post-Partisan

Posted by:

As a contributor to the National Journal’s Education Insider blog, I offered this commentary today about House Majority Leader’s Eric Cantor’s vocal support for school choice. This week he is appearing at the Brookings Institution during the release of that prestigious, left-leaning think tank’s Education Choice and Competition Index. Not to be confused with CER’s Parent Power Index, which is based on the reality of and actual potential for a parent’s power to guide their child’s education, through school choice programs, accountability and transparency, the Brookings’ Index is nonetheless a great work of data that demonstrates the breadth and depth of education choice.

But because the Education Establishment still ...

Continue Reading →
Page 1 of 2 12