Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Interesting Stuff Over at the LEV Blog

Update: I just popped back over to LEV's blog to double-check something and noted that they had another thread about the documentary, Waiting for Superman. But more telling is the "comments closed" tag on a thread just started today. No matter what you think of this blog or Charlie or me, unlike the Alliance blog or the LEV blog, we don't cut off comments (unless they are anonymous and hey, that might even change). Why do they have a blog if they treat it like an online newsletter?

LEV has an interesting thread about a new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, "America's Best (and Worst) Cities for School Reform: Attracting Entrepreneurs and Change Agents." I have not read the entire report but I did read the Seattle portion. I'll have see what is said about other cities.

First, this report has a definite slant. Look at the title - is ed reform about attracting entrepreneurs? Or is that really the only way (via charters) for change?

Heather Cope, who wrote the thread, points out that there is a lot of N/A responses for Seattle and she's right; it is puzzling why the Institute could not get this information. (It could also be that the district just didn't respond to their questions.)

Here were my comments:

“SPS has a coherent vision for change and is disciplined about pursuing private funding to support that vision, but it does not expend its own money on nontraditional programs.”

(I’m not sure what to make of this. On paper they may have a coherent vision but it’s not readily apparent to people not within the district.)

Oh, so only charters can be considered innovative or non-traditional? Seattle has a LONG history of innovation. (And, in fact, until Dr. G-J came, we did label some schools as non-traditional/alternative.) We have many alternative schools that have their own styles and focus. So yes, the district does spend its own money there.

While Washington has witnessed a handful of charter school initiatives over the past two decades, union resistance has continued to foil pro-charter efforts.

Sorry kids, but no union can rule an entire state. The majority of Washington voters have spoken (at least 3 times). Don’t blame this one on the union.

(I note that the union-bashing continues through this review of Seattle Schools.)

From the category of Charter environment:

Charters are one of the main ways in which entrepreneurs can enter new education markets, both as providers of instruction and services and as consumers of other nontraditional goods and services.

I’m sorry but maybe I missed something. Education is supposed to be functioning as a market for entrepreneurs? Interesting, I thought it was to educate our children.

1 comment:

Josh Hayes said...

I've never actually looked at that site before (LEV); I find it interesting that their "blogroll", presumably other blogs interested readers might wish to explore, does not include THIS blog.

Shocked. I'm shocked, I say. (I'd also recommend people read the Friedman column in the first place. Not because it's insightful or informative, but to get a sense of what the power-brokers are thinking, and what they're selling.)