Posts Tagged ‘Jerry Brown’

Four signs of the Apocalypse

Friday, May 20th, 2011

1) Chicago, home of Arne “Blueprint for Education Reform” Duncan, is opting out of the top “reform” strategy the Education Secretary promotes. According to Catalyst magazine, the Chicago Public Schools plans no new school turnarounds this year. Instead, the district is planning to use the “school transformation” model, the least disruptive of the four improvement models in Duncan’s plan.

2) One of the schools listed for transformation by CPS is North Lawndale College Prep Charter High School. I thought under-performing charter schools were supposed to be shut down – that’s how they are held accountable, I thought. Hm.

3) Governor Jerry Brown (himself a sign of the apocalypse, right?) has “taken a big step towards reducing the testing mania in the nation’s most populous state” by suspending funding for the student longitudinal data collection system and the associated teacher data base, according to California teacher Anthony Cody, writing in his Education Week blog.

4) The school district’s budget is passed in Albany, NY, despite a massive “vote no” campaign funded by “Brighter Choice Foundation,” which runs all of the area’s charter schools. This article by Parents Across America co-founder Mark Mishler describes the expensive and misleading campaign against the public school budget, which included no new taxes because teachers agreed not to ask for a raise. What a nasty — though happily unsuccessful — attack on public education by a charter company. Aren’t charters always demanding to be acknowledged as public schools? Time to stop pretending, folks.

What does it all mean?

Well, according to my handy dictionary, rapture is “an elevated sense of bliss.” Yep, that sounds about right.

Fashion victims no more?

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Fashion modelIn case you haven’t been reading/hearing about California governor redux Jerry Brown, it’s not just the governorship he’s revisiting. In education, he’s calling himself a “reformed reformer.”

One of Brown’s first acts as governor was to replace seven members of the state board  of education — including Ben “Parent Trigger” Austin — with people with broader, more impressive education credentials.

Fashion in education

An essay by Peter Schrag in the Sacramento Bee describes Brown’s “skepticism about grand educational ideas. ‘There’s a lot of fashion in education,’ he said at the state board meeting the other day. ‘I don’t expect any silver bullets.’ ”

Schrag believes that these changes “point to a gradual shift away from the narrow focus on fact-based testing in math and reading, on creating many more charter schools, on ‘reconstituting’ or closing sub-par schools, and on other business-model schemes that school reformers have pushed for during the past couple of decades…. That shift reflects a slowly growing realization both in California and nationally that the rigid reform formulas pursued both by the Bush and Obama administrations and by the nation’s influential foundations and business leaders have created as many problems as they’ve solved.”

Tune in to tomorrow night’s State of the Union address to find out if President Obama’s advisors have picked up on a shift in education fashion trends (here’s one writer who isn’t optimistic). You might also want to watch Thursday night’s WGN-TV debate to see if Chicago mayoral front-runner Rahm Emanuel will continue to wear the tired Gates-Broad-Walton line or if Carol Moseley Braun and Miguel Del Valle steal the show with their cutting-edge approach.

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.